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Upperville in Fauquier County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Battle of Unison

Foiling the Trap

 
 
Battle of Unison Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 15, 2011
1. Battle of Unison Marker
Inscription. (Preface):
After the Battle of Antietam in September 1862, Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia escaped to Virginia. President Abraham Lincoln repeatedly urged Union Gen. George B. McClellan to pursue and attack. Following a plan that Lincoln devised to trap Lee's army in the Shenandoah Valley, McClellan finally got his Army of the Potomac moving. On November 1, Union cavalry Gen. Alfred Pleasonton began leading the advance from Philomont toward Upperville. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry delayed him for three days. On November 5, learning that Lee's army had evaded the trap and reached Culpeper County, Lincoln ordered McClellan relieved of command.

On Monday, November 3, 1862, Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart's 900 troopers and 12 guns were stretched thinly over a two-mile-long line across the fields in front of you. Beyond Stuart's line, Union Gen. Alfred Pleasonton, with 4,000 men and 18 guns, approached from the north. As Stuart described the scene, "About 9 A.M. the enemy advanced on our new position with cavalry, infantry and artillery, moving simultaneously by all the roads and fords."

Stuart's line held tenaciously almost all day but was finally breached by a successful infantry attack on his right flank. He and his men, pursued by Union cavalry, retreated in a wild gallop across the fields just in
Battle of Unison, November 3, 1862 image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 15, 2011
2. Battle of Unison, November 3, 1862
front of you and along Ashby's Gap Turnpike through Upperville to your left. As they approached Ashby's Gap, Confederate cannon fire from there halted the Federals, and Stuart's men found safety. Although the three days of fighting ended in Stuart's retreat, he had accomplished his mission. The advance of Lee's army reached Culpeper County the same day to block any Union march on Richmond. Lincoln's plan was foiled. Two days later, he ordered McClellan relieved and replaced with Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside.

The next year, as Lee marched through the Shenandoah Valley to invade Pennsylvania, Stuart and Pleasonton fought again here. Once more, Stuart successfully screened Lee's army from Pleasonton's cavalry.

(Sidebar):
Ida Dulany watched the day's action from Oakley Plantation, about half a mile to your right. She wrote in her diary, "We could see from the location of the batteries that they approached us. ... Soon there were no more Southerners in sight and the house was surrounded by Yankees. ... We watched the battery pouring out shells against our battery which was in the vineyard. ... The shells from both batteries burst in full sight of us."
 
Erected 2011 by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location.
Portraits of Gens. Stuart and Pleasonton image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 15, 2011
3. Portraits of Gens. Stuart and Pleasonton
38° 59.431′ N, 77° 52.331′ W. Marker is in Upperville, Virginia, in Fauquier County. Marker is on John S. Mosby Highway (U.S. 50), on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. The marker on Vineyard Hill, in Upperville Park. The park is located across the highway from Ivy Hill Cemetery. Marker is in this post office area: Upperville VA 20184, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Upperville (here, next to this marker); Lee Moves North Again (approx. 1.1 miles away); Battle of Upperville (approx. 1.1 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Upperville (approx. 1.4 miles away); Attack at Goose Creek Bridge (approx. 2.8 miles away); Rector House (approx. 3.6 miles away); Rector’s Crossroads (approx. 3.6 miles away); Mosby’s Rangers (approx. 3.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Upperville.
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
"A Cavalry Charge" by Edwin Forbes image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 15, 2011
4. "A Cavalry Charge" by Edwin Forbes
Ida Dulany and Oakley image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 15, 2011
5. Ida Dulany and Oakley
Markers at the Upperville Park image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 15, 2011
6. Markers at the Upperville Park
Confederate Retreat on the Turnpike image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 15, 2011
7. Confederate Retreat on the Turnpike
Looking east over the modern US Highway 50. Confederate cavalry retreated past this point and toward Ashby's Gap during the concluding phases of the battle. Collapsing from positions on the north and south of the highway, Stuart's men made additional rearguard stands to the west of town.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 15, 2011, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 839 times since then and 44 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on May 15, 2011, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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