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The Battle of Stanardsville

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A little more than 140 years ago, there occurred a relatively minor military skirmish in Greene County. It was late February 1864, only 13 months before Confederate General Robert E. Lee would finally surrender at Appomattox Court House, effectively ending the Civil War. Confederate forces continued to strongly defend Richmond, but the tide was slowly beginning to turn against the Southerners.

In an effort to divert some Confederate troops away from Richmond, Union cavalry under Gen. George Custer launched raids into Central Virginia, destroying a bridge in northern Albemarle County before burning Confederate supplies in Stanardsville. Confederate horsemen under Gen. J.E.B. Stuart rode all night through a freezing rain and, after an exchange of artillery fire, drew their sabers and chased the Federals north across the Conway River into Madison.

Thus, in a nutshell, went the Battle of Stanardsville. Though little more than a footnote in most history books, the “Stanardsville Engagement” is an important reminder of Greene’s role in the Civil War, easily the definitive event of the first century of the American republic.

In September 2004, through the combined efforts of the county Economic Development Authority and a host of individuals and civic organizations, a two-day re-enactment of the Stanardsville and Rio Hill battles was held in Greene for the first time in a decade. Outstanding in every respect, the re-enactment offered educational and historical entertainment for locals and visitors of all ages and will certainly become a “must-see” event in the years to come.

The infantry, artillery and cavalry soldiers gave us all a small taste of what it must have been like to endure the chaos and brutality of warfare in the mid-19th century. With fine portrayals of Generals Lee, Jackson, Pickett, Armistead, and Garnett, it could easily be argued that last weekend’s gathering represented the greatest collection of military leadership Greene County has ever seen.

The explosive roar of cannon fire, the clash of cavalry sabers and the thundering of horses hooves’ will echo in Greene County next year and for many years to come.

War Re-Enactments

The Battle of Stanardsville

By Tom Wanamaker

Editor

A little more than 140 years ago, there occurred a relatively minor military skirmish in Greene County. It was late February 1864, only 13 months before Confederate General Robert E. Lee would finally surrender at Appomattox Court House, effectively ending the Civil War. Confederate forces continued to strongly defend Richmond, but the tide was slowly beginning to turn against the Southerners.

In an effort to divert some Confederate troops away from Richmond, Union cavalry under Gen. George Custer launched raids into Central Virginia, destroying a bridge in northern Albemarle County before burning Confederate supplies in Stanardsville. Confederate horsemen under Gen. J.E.B. Stuart rode all night through a freezing rain and, after an exchange of artillery fire, drew their sabers and chased the Federals north across the Conway River into Madison.

Thus, in a nutshell, went the Battle of Stanardsville. Though little more than a footnote in most history books, the “Stanardsville Engagement” is an important reminder of Greene’s role in the Civil War, easily the definitive event of the first century of the American republic.

In September 2004, through the combined efforts of the county Economic Development Authority and a host of individuals and civic organizations, a two-day re-enactment of the Stanardsville and Rio Hill battles was held in Greene for the first time in a decade. Outstanding in every respect, the re-enactment offered educational and historical entertainment for locals and visitors of all ages and will certainly become a “must-see” event in the years to come.

The infantry, artillery and cavalry soldiers gave us all a small taste of what it must have been like to endure the chaos and brutality of warfare in the mid-19th century. With fine portrayals of Generals Lee, Jackson, Pickett, Armistead, and Garnett, it could easily be argued that last weekend’s gathering represented the greatest collection of military leadership Greene County has ever seen.

The explosive roar of cannon fire, the clash of cavalry sabers and the thundering of horses hooves’ will echo in Greene County next year and for many years to come.

This article is adapted from an Editorial published in the Greene County Record on Sept. 30, 2004.

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