“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Buchanan in Botetourt County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Buchanan Bridge

An Artillery Duel Ensued


— Hunter’s Raid —

Buchanan Bridge CWT Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 28, 2012
1. Buchanan Bridge CWT Marker
Inscription.  (preface)
On May 26, 1864, Union Gen. David Hunter marched south from Cedar Creek near Winchester to drive out Confederate forces, lay waste to the Shenandoah Valley, and destroy transportation facilities at Lynchburg. His raid was part of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s strategy to attack Confederates simultaneously throughout Virginia. After defeating Gen. William E. “Grumble” Jones at Piedmont on June 5, Hunter marched to Lexington, burned Virginia Military Institute, and headed to Lynchburg. There, on June 17-18, Gen. Jubal A. Early repulsed Hunter and pursued him to West Virginia. Early then turned north in July to threaten Washington.

(marker text)
On June 14, 1864, after occupying Lexington and burning Virginia Military Institute, Union Gen. David Hunter’s 18,000-man force marched south toward Lynchburg through Buchanan, a river port located at the western terminus of the James River and Kanawha Canal. Parts of the canal wall are just downstream to the right.

When Union Gen. William W. Averell’s cavalrymen attempted to seize the Buchanan Bridge across the James River here, Confederate Gen.
Buchanan Bridge CWT Marker (looking downriver) image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 28, 2012
2. Buchanan Bridge CWT Marker (looking downriver)
The pedestrian swinging bridge is supported by the old bridge piers.
John C. McCausland’s troopers, who had been harassing them, confronted them again. By the time Averell arrived, the Confederates had packed the wooden covered bridge with coal oil-soaked hay. McCausland ignited the north end of the bridge then escaped in a small boat to this side of the river, crossing beneath the burning structure. An artillery duel ensued, and Federal shells struck Oak Hill, the large house on the hill above and to your right. The wind carried embers from the bridge across the river to dwellings in Pattonsburg. Averell’s men helped extinguish the flames, but not before eleven houses burned. The bridge, which survived the fire, was unusable, so Union soldiers, wagons, and artillery forded the river upstream, losing a day’s march. The next morning, Hunter’s force crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains on present-day Route 43.

The old bridge piers today support the pedestrian swinging bridge.
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil.
Location. 37° 31.788′ N, 79° 40.776′ W. Marker is in Buchanan, Virginia, in Botetourt County. Marker can be reached from Lowe Street (County Road T-1305) west of Main Street (U.S. 11), on the right when traveling west. Located in
Buchanan Bridge CWT Marker (looking upriver) image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 28, 2012
3. Buchanan Bridge CWT Marker (looking upriver)
the parking lot near Twin River Outfitters. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 635 Lowe Street, Buchanan VA 24066, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Buchanan & The James River & Kanawha Canal (a few steps from this marker); A Bridge Over Time (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Kemble Building (about 400 feet away); Star/Buchanan Theatre (about 600 feet away); Buchanan Baptist Church (about 800 feet away); H.L. Williams House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Trinity Episcopal Church (approx. ¼ mile away); Trinity United Methodist Church (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Buchanan.
More about this marker. On the lower left are photographs of "Gen. William W. Averell" and "Gen. John C. McCausland"

On the upper right are photographs with the captions, "Demolition of covered bridge, ca. 1897. photographed from this position." and "Oak Hill, upper right, photographed in 1885."

On the lower right is a Virginia Civil War Trails map of Hunter's Raid.
James River Suspension Bridge, Buchanan, Virginia image. Click for full size.
By Jack E, Boucher, 1971
4. James River Suspension Bridge, Buchanan, Virginia
The stone pier is a remnant of the Civil War era covered bridge. Library of Congress [HAER VA,12-BUCH,1--1]
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on May 29, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 746 times since then and 33 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 29, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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Sep. 22, 2020