Near Charlottesville in Albemarle County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Rio Hill 1864 Skirmish
George A. Custer Attacks a Confederate Winter Camp
While the artillery troops rested through the early months of 1864, Union Generals Ulric Dahlgren and Judson Kilpatrick raided Richmond in an unsuccessful attempt to free about 15,000 Union prisoners. Two minor diversionary raids were initiated at the same time. Gen. George A. Custer led one with approximately 1,500 cavalrymen into Albemarle County.
Custerís mission was to divert Confederate forces away from Richmond and to destroy Confederate supplies in Charlottesville as well as a key railroad bridge at the woolen mills east of town.
On February 29, 1864, a detachment of about 60 of Custerís men charged into the camped Confederates, burned huts and destroyed artillery equipment. Confederate artillery guns, guarding the camp from higher ground to the south, were fired into the melee. Mounted Confederate artillery troops formed a battle line simulating cavalry. According to some accounts, many men were armed only with sticks and
Cannon ammunition stored in a Confederate caisson exploded within the camp just as more Union troops arrived. Amidst confusion and chaos, Custerís troops began firing at each other, then broke off the encounter.
Custer, thinking he was outnumbered, ordered a withdrawal. He burned the wooden bridge and a large flour mill near the Rivanna River before returning north toward Stanardsville. One Union cavalryman was wounded and two Confederate soldiers were captured during the skirmish. The only armed engagement to take place in Albemarle County during the Civil War had ended.
Erected by Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 38° 5.19′ N, 78° 28.356′ W. Marker is near Charlottesville, Virginia, in Albemarle County. Marker can be reached from Woodbrook Drive west of Seminole Trail (U.S. 29). Touch for map. It is in Rio Hill Center, in a large case on the wall next to the Subway sandwich shop. The restaurant is on the roadway that parallels Route 29 on the western edge of the shopping center between Woodbrook Drive and Myers Drive. If you are heading south on Route 29, go
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Rio Hill (here, next to this marker); Skirmish at Rio Hill (within shouting distance of this marker); Monacan Indian Village (approx. 1.3 miles away); Rio Mills (approx. 1.3 miles away); Albemarle Barracks Burial Site (approx. 2.8 miles away); Convention Army The Barracks (approx. 3 miles away); The Dogwood Vietnam Memorial (approx. 3 miles away); a different marker also named Dogwood Vietnam Memorial (approx. 3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Charlottesville.
More about this marker. There are three illustrations on the marker. In the center is “an 1864 drawing of Custerís cavalrymen charging into the Confederate camp,” and to the right are portraits of General George A. Custer and Captain Marcellus N. Moorman.
Regarding Rio Hill 1864 Skirmish. The word “Rio” in “Rio Hill” and “Rio Road” is pronounced “Ryo” locally.
1. Marker has been changed
The Contents of the Display case have been changed, and don't match the description anymore.
— Submitted August 10, 2014, by Bernd Henrik Franke of Gordonsville, Virginia.
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 14, 2008, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 4,377 times since then and 248 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on May 14, 2008, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.