Near Charlottesville in Albemarle County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Rio Hill 1864 Skirmish
George A. Custer Attacks a Confederate Winter Camp
While the artillery troops rested through the early months of 1864, Union Generals Ulric Dahlgren and Judson Kilpatrick raided Richmond in an unsuccessful attempt to free about 15,000 Union prisoners. Two minor diversionary raids were initiated at the same time. Gen. George A. Custer led one with approximately 1,500 cavalrymen into Albemarle County.
Custer’s mission was to divert Confederate forces away from Richmond and to destroy Confederate supplies in Charlottesville as well as a key railroad bridge at the woolen mills east of town.
On February 29, 1864, a detachment of about 60 of Custer’s men charged into the camped Confederates, burned huts and destroyed artillery equipment. Confederate artillery guns, guarding the camp from higher
Cannon ammunition stored in a Confederate caisson exploded within the camp just as more Union troops arrived. Amidst confusion and chaos, Custer’s troops began firing at each other, then broke off the encounter.
Custer, thinking he was outnumbered, ordered a withdrawal. He burned the wooden bridge and a large flour mill near the Rivanna River before returning north toward Stanardsville. One Union cavalryman was wounded and two Confederate soldiers were captured during the skirmish. The only armed engagement to take place in Albemarle County during the Civil War had ended.
Erected by Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list.
Location. 38° 5.19′ N, 78° 28.356′ W. Marker is near Charlottesville, Virginia, in Albemarle County. Marker can be reached from Woodbrook Drive west of Seminole Trail (U.S. 29). It is in Rio Hill Center, in a Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Charlottesville VA 22901, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Rio Hill (here, next to this marker); Skirmish at Rio Hill (within shouting distance of this marker); Monacan Indian Village (approx. 1.3 miles away); Rio Mills (approx. 1.3 miles away); Albemarle Barracks Burial Site (approx. 2.8 miles away); Convention Army The Barracks (approx. 3 miles away); The Dogwood Vietnam Memorial (approx. 3 miles away); a different marker also named Dogwood Vietnam Memorial (approx. 3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Charlottesville.
More about this marker. There are three illustrations on the marker. In the center is “an 1864 drawing of Custer’s cavalrymen charging into the Confederate camp,” and to the right are portraits of General George A. Custer and Captain Marcellus N. Moorman. In the case surrounding the marker are a number of artifacts recovered from the site before the shopping center was built.
Regarding Rio Hill 1864 Skirmish. The word “Rio” in “Rio Hill” and “Rio Road” is pronounced “Ryo” locally.
1. Marker has been changed
The Contents of the Display case have been changed, and don't match the description anymore.
— Submitted August 10, 2014, by Bernd Henrik Franke of Gordonsville, Virginia.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on May 14, 2008, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 5,086 times since then and 124 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on May 14, 2008, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.