Buchanan in Botetourt County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
—Hunter's Raid —
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. Grant’s 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.
Union Gen. William W. Averell led his cavalry brigade in advance of Hunter’s army as it moved south from Lexington, pursuing Confederate Gen. John McCausland’s brigade as it retreated. McCausland burned the bridge over the James River at Buchanan to prevent Averell from following, but the Federals crossed the river at a ford south of The Anchorage on June 13. Averell’s men fired on the house, apparently believing that the civilians scrambling for shelter in the cellar were Confederate troops. They ceased firing when Averell learned the truth.
While Averell’s men occupied Buchanan, the general established his headquarters on the lawn of
“[Buchanan residents] protested against the burning of the bridge, but McCausland, with his characteristic recklessness, persisted …, involving eleven private dwellings in the conflagration, … [which] was stopped by the friendly efforts of our troops, who extinguished the flames.” — Gen. David Hunter, August 8, 1864
William Conway Whittle (1805-1878), whose primary residence was in Norfolk, bought this substantial brick house in 1848. An officer in the U.S. Navy, he named it The Anchorage and, after the war, lived here until his death. He resigned at the start of the war and joined the Confederate navy as a captain, commanding the port of New Orleans when the city capitulated on April 25, 1862. Whittle’s son, William “Conway” Whittle Jr., was the executive officer on CSS Shenandoah, the last Confederate ship to surrender.
Location. 37° 31.435′ N, 79° 41.046′ W. Marker is in Buchanan, Virginia, in Botetourt County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street (U.S. 11) and 15th Street (County Road T-1313), on the right when traveling south on Main Street. Touch for map. Located in front of The Rhein River Inn. Marker is at or near this postal address: 19391 Main Street, 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. Buchanan ( approx. 0.2 miles away); The Botetourt Artillery ( approx. 0.2 miles away); Wilson Warehouse ( approx. ¼ mile away); Buchanan Bridge ( approx. half a mile away); Buchanan & The James River & Kanawha Canal ( approx. half a mile away); Looney's Ferry ( approx. 0.8 miles away); Mount Joy ( approx. 1.6 miles away); Cartmill's Gap ( approx. 2.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Buchanan.
More about this marker. On the upper left is a photograph with the caption, "The Anchorage — Courtesy J.D. “Hawkie” Hawkins Collection"
In the center is a photograph with the caption, "Presbyterian Manse Courtesy Sue Watts"
On the upper right is a photograph with the caption, "Capt. William C. Whittle — Courtesy J. Thomas Scharf, History of the Confederate States Navy (1887)"
On the lower right is a Virginia Civil War Trails map of Hunter's Raid
Also see . . . House History. The Rhein River Inn (Submitted on May 29, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
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 540 times since then and 50 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on May 29, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.