Buchanan in Botetourt County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
“Fit only for Ö owls and bats.”
óHunterís Raid ó
On May 26, 1864, Union Gen. David Hunter marched south from Cedar Creek near Winchester to drive out Confederate forces, lay waste to the Shenandoah Valley, and destroy transportation facilities at Lynchburg. His raid was part of Gen. Ulysses S. Grantís strategy to attack Confederates simultaneously throughout Virginia. After defeating Gen. William E. “Grumble” Jones at Piedmont on June 5, Hunter marched to Lexington, burned Virginia Military Institute, and headed to Lynchburg. There, on June 17-18, Gen. Jubal A. Early repulsed Hunter and pursued him to West Virginia. Early then turned north in July to threaten Washington.
On June 14, 1864, after Union Gen. David Hunterís force forded the James River upstream from the Buchanan Bridge that Confederate John C. McCausland had partially burned, the Federals swarmed through Buchanan and the surrounding countryside. They looted homes and farms for food and valuables, including a cache of fine wine that fueled a boisterous party well into the night. The soldiers also damaged canal locks and embankments, and destroyed several bateaux and packet boats and their cargoes. A few months after the brief occupation, a resident wrote that the Iower part of town was a ruin “fit only for the habitation of owls and bats.”
The home of noted Virginia novelist Mary Johnston (1870-1936) stood across from the Wilson Warehouse. Her father, Maj. John W. Johnston, a kinsman of Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, served in the Botetourt Artillery of Vicksburg fame. Mary Johnston used her fatherís diaries to write two Civil War novels, The Long Roll and Cease Firing. Her most famous book is To Have and To Hold.
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Location. 37° 31.627′ N, 79° 40.944′ W. Marker is in Buchanan, Virginia, in Botetourt County. Marker is at the intersection of Lowe Street (County Road T-1305 Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Buchanan VA 24066, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Botetourt Artillery (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Buchanan (about 500 feet away); The Anchorage (approx. ľ mile away); Buchanan Bridge (approx. ľ mile away); Buchanan & The James River & Kanawha Canal (approx. ľ mile away); Looney's Ferry (approx. one mile away); Mount Joy (approx. 1.8 miles away); Cartmill's Gap (approx. 2.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Buchanan.
More about this marker. On the lower left is an image with the caption, "Packet boat on James River and Kanawha Canal with Confederate troops near Buchanan, Harperís Weekly, 1861. - Courtesy Paul Simpkins"
In the center is a "Photograph (1880) of Wilson Warehouse (right) and Hotel Botetourt, built 1851 and burned 1997. Hotel guests included Gens. Robert E. Lee and Jubal A Early."
On the upper right is a portrait of "Mary Johnston, 1895"
On the lower right is a Virginia Civil Trails map of Hunter's Raid.
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 29, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 473 times since then and 44 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 29, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.