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

Bedford

Hunter’s Raid

 

—1864 Valley Campaign —

 
Bedford CWT Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 3, 2011
1. Bedford CWT Marker
Inscription. On the evening of June 15, 1864, the lead element of Union Gen. David Hunter’s 18,000-man army arrived here and cam near Avenel. The main force arrived the following morning and started destroying the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad tracks, burning the depot and businesses before moving on toward Lynchburg. Hunter had taken command in the Shenandoah Valley on May 19, with orders to destroy railroad facilities and supplies in Staunton and Lynchburg, then either return to lower Valley or join Gen. Ulysses S. Grant near Petersburg.

Learning of Hunter’s plans, on June 12, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee assigned Gen. Jubal A. Early the command of a diversionary corps from the Army of Northern Virginia to defeat Hunter. Later, if feasible, Early was to slice down the Valley, cross the Potomac River and threaten Washington. Lee hoped to induce Grant to detach troops from eastern Virginia and relieve the strain on Lee’s defense of Richmond.

Hunter attacked Lynchburg on June 18, but Early had arrived in the nick of time. After his probes were repulsed, Hunter retreated the next day along the same route taken on his advance, with Early’s 8,000-man force in pursuit. Early’s advance caught up with Hunter just east of town and carried the fight to downtown Liberty. The Federals retreated west to positions just outside town, and
Hunter's route to Lynchburg, May 26 - June 29, 1864 image. Click for full size.
2. Hunter's route to Lynchburg, May 26 - June 29, 1864
darkness ended the fighting. Early planned to resume the attack the next morning, but Hunter pulled out during the night. Early set off in pursuit, out of Bedford County toward Salem and Hanging Rock.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 37° 20.061′ N, 79° 31.426′ W. Marker is in Bedford, Virginia, in Bedford County. Marker is at the intersection of South Bridge Street and West Main Street (U.S. 221), on the left when traveling north on South Bridge Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bedford VA 24523, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bedford County WWII Memorial (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Bedford County Confederate Monument (about 300 feet away); a different marker also named Bedford (about 500 feet away); Bedford’s Volunteer Company (about 500 feet away); Avenel (approx. ¼ mile away); Peaks of Otter Road (approx. 0.3 miles away); Randolph-Macon Academy (approx. 0.6 miles away); Home of John Goode (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bedford.
 
More about this marker. On the upper
The Peaks of Otter and the Town of Liberty image. Click for full size.
3. The Peaks of Otter and the Town of Liberty
right are portraits of "Gen. David Hunter" and "Gen. Jubal Early" and a map of Hunter's route.

On the lower left is a water color with the caption, "The Peaks of Otter and the Town of Liberty (now Bedford City) was painted in 1855 by Ed Byer. - Courtesy of the Virginia Historical Society's Lora Robins Collection, partial gift of Mildred E. Lang".
 
Also see . . .  Hunter's Raid Civil War Trail. (Submitted on April 3, 2011.)
 
Categories. Railroads & StreetcarsWar, US Civil
 
S Bridge St & W Main St image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 3, 2011
4. S Bridge St & W Main St
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 3, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 856 times since then and 61 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on April 3, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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