Near Amissville in Rappahannock County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Custer’s Early “Last Stand”
—Gettysburg Campaign —
During the second half of July 1863, the Union army pursued Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia through Rappahannock County as the Confederates marched south for the protection of the Rapidan River. The largest single military engagement in the county occurred here on the morning of July 24 when Union Gen. George A. Custer, with five cavalry regiments and two batteries, attacked the rear of Confederate Gen. James Longstreet’s corps and the head of Gen. A.P. Hill’s corps as they marched down the Richmond road. Custer placed artillery on the shoulder of Battle Mountain and shelled Hill’s men, who returned fire from the embankment on the southeastern corner of the crossroads.
Col. William Oates and the 15th Alabama Infantry conducted
Custer’s rear guard—two guns of Battery M, 2nd U.S. Artillery, and the 5th and 6th Michigan Cavalry—held Benning’s Confederates in check for two hours. This delaying action enabled Custer and his command to escape by cutting a road through dense woods and racing back to his camp at Amissville, several miles northeast. Hill’s corps continued its march to Culpeper County.
(Sidebar): Two Union officers received the Medal of Honor for their actions during this engagement. Lt. Carle A. Woodruff, 2nd U.S. Artillery, commanded the two-gun section of guns in Custer’s rear guard when he “was attacked by the enemy and ordered to abandon his guns … [but] disregarded the orders received and aided in repelling the attack and saving the guns.” Likewise, when Capt. Smith H. Hastings, Co. M, 5th Michigan Cavalry, whose squadron was guarding the guns, received orders to abandon them because they “were in imminent danger
“There is no doubt that an entire corps was in line of battle and advancing upon me. ... I think our position to-day the most critical I was ever in.” – Gen. George A. Custer, July 24, 1863
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 38° 38.96′ N, 78° 4.482′ W. Marker is near Amissville, Virginia, in Rappahannock County. Marker is at the intersection of Laurel Mills Road (County Route 618) and Richmond Road (County Route 729), on the left when traveling east on Laurel Mills Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Amissville VA 20106, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Dangerfield Newby (here, next to this marker); Encounter with Lee (here, next to this marker); Hinson's Ford (approx. 4.3 miles away); Campaign of Second Manassas (approx. 4.3 miles away); Corbin's Crossroads (approx. 4½ miles away); Twilight of Slavery Gaines’s Crossroads (approx. 4.8 miles away); a different marker also named Campaign of Second Manassas (approx. 5.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Amissville.
Regarding Battle Mountain. The marker displays four portraits captioned: Gen. George A. Custer Library of Congress, Gen. Henry L. Benning Photographic History of the Civil War, Capt. Smith H. Hasting Courtesy Michigan Historical Museum, and Lt. Carle E. Woodruff Courtesy Library of Congress. On the upper center of the marker is a map of the area around Newby's Crossroads indicating troop movements.
Also see . . .
1. Carle Augustus Woodruff. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Submitted on December 3, 2011.)
2. Smith H Hastings. From Find a Grave.com (Submitted on December 3, 2011.)
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 3, 2011. This page has been viewed 1,037 times since then and 76 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on December 3, 2011. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.