“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Gainesville in Prince William County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Buckland Mills Battle

Custer's Position

Buckland Mills Battle Marker image. Click for full size.
June 7, 2009
1. Buckland Mills Battle Marker
Inscription. (Preface): On October 19, 1863, 12,000 Confederate and Union cavalry clashed at the Battle of Buckland Mills in the last large-scale Confederate victory in Virginia. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, screening the Confederate infantry’s march to Culpeper County, blocked Union Gen. H. Judson Kilpatrick’s advance at Buckland, then withdrew west. Union Gen. Henry E. Davies’s brigade pursued Stuart while Gen. George A. Custer’s brigade occupied Buckland. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee suddenly attacked Custer from the south, isolating the two brigades, and Stuart charged Davies. The Federals fled east. The Confederates called the engagement the “Buckland Races.”

On the morning of October 19, 1863, two cavalry commands occupied this ground in succession. Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart and his men held it from about 10 A.M. until noon before withdrawing west along the Warrenton Turnpike as Union Gen. George A. Custer’s cavalry brigade approached from your left. Custer occupied this position while Gen. Henry E. Davies’s brigade passed, lured west by Stuart.
Early in the afternoon, as Custer’s men rested in the then-open fields before you, Confederate Gen. Fitzhugh Lee’s division struck from the woods to your right front, pushing Custer back here and separating his brigade from Davies’s at New Baltimore. Lee drove Custer east from here across
Buckland Mills Battle Marker image. Click for full size.
June 7, 2009
2. Buckland Mills Battle Marker
the Broad Run bridge toward Gainesville, and the Confederates held this ground again by evening. Lee pursued Custer until long after dark, and Stuart drove Davies beyond Broad Run upstream from here.
The Confederates lost about 50 men, the Federals about 260, mostly prisoners. Stuart termed the rout, his last victory over cavalry, “the most complete that any cavalry … suffered during this war.” Custer called the day “the most disastrous this division ever passed through.”

(Sidebar): Founded in 1797, Buckland became a thriving community with two mills, a large distillery, and several taverns. The Warrenton-Alexandria Turnpike and a pest-resistant strain of wheat developed here added to the town’s prosperity. During the war, the turnpike bridge became a military objective. On August 27, 1862, during the Second Manassas campaign, Union Gen. Robert Milroy’s brigade, marching toward Gainesville, found the Broad Run bridge on fire and Confederate cavalry with one piece of artillery on the opposite side. Milroy’s cavalry detachment drove them off. The men quickly repaired the bridge so that parts of Union Gen. John Pope’s army could march across it to Manassas. The war forced many of the businesses in town to close.
Erected 2009 by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Marker series.
Close-up of Map on Marker image. Click for full size.
June 7, 2009
3. Close-up of Map on Marker
This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 38° 46.796′ N, 77° 40.481′ W. Marker is near Gainesville, Virginia, in Prince William County. Marker is on Lee Highway (U.S. 29), on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 16211 Lee Highway, Gainesville VA 20155, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Buckland (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Battle of Buckland Mills (approx. 0.6 miles away); Second Battle of Manassas (approx. 2.3 miles away); Campaign of Second Manassas (approx. 2.3 miles away); Bull Run Battlefields (approx. 2.3 miles away); Rock Fight (approx. 2.3 miles away); Second Manassas Campaign (approx. 2½ miles away); “Greenwich” (approx. 2½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gainesville.
More about this marker. The upper middle of the marker features a drawing captioned, Custer (on left with arms folded) watches his guns fire on Buckland from Cerro Gordo. Alfred R. Waud drawing, “Buckland from Mr. Hunton's House” – Courtesy Library of Congress

The sidebar contains a drawing captioned, Buckland Mills. Edwin Forbes drawing, “Crossing
The Buckland Mill on western bank of the Broad Run River image. Click for full size.
June 7, 2009
4. The Buckland Mill on western bank of the Broad Run River
The present building, constructed about 1900 on earlier foundations, is believed to be the third mill built on this site.
at Broad Run” -Courtesy Library of Congress

The lower left of the marker displays a map of the Battle of Buckland Mills between portraits of Gen. Fitzhugh Lee and Gen. George A. Custer.
Also see . . .
1. Battle of Buckland Mills. National Park Service Summary (Submitted on June 8, 2009.) 

2. Buckland Historic District. National Register of Historic Places Registration Form (Submitted on June 8, 2009.) 

3. Buckland Historic District (Boundary Increase). National Register of Historic Places Registration Form (Submitted on June 8, 2009.) 
Categories. War, US Civil
“Crossing at Broad Run” image. Click for more information.
5. “Crossing at Broad Run”
Edwin Forbes drawing from marker.
"The Army of the Potomac crossing Broad Run. Retreat from Culpepper [sic]" (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

Click for more information.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 3, 2018. This page originally submitted on June 8, 2009. This page has been viewed 3,017 times since then and 23 times this year. Last updated on May 2, 2018, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on June 8, 2009. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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