One of the bloodiest cavalry battle of the American Civil War. Trevilian Station was a result of General Grant’s attempts to coordinate a strategy that encompassed all of Virginia. General David Hunter had been sent up the Shenandoah Valley, with orders to emerge at Lynchburg and destroy the railroads to Richmond. Sheridan, with two cavalry divisions (7,000 men), was detached from Grant’s army and sent west to destroy the other end of the same railroad links, cutting one of Robert E. Lee’s last remaining supply lines.
Sheridan’s raid did not go as planned. Lee was able to send a force of 5,000 cavalry under their new commander, Wade Hampton (J.E.B. Stuart having been killed the previous month) to oppose the Union raid. Two days of bloody fighting around Trevilian Station, in which General Custer was prominent, resulted in heavy losses (735 Union to around 900 Confederate), but the battle was otherwise rather inconclusive.
Although Sheridan held his ground during the fighting, and was able to inflict quite a lot of damage on the railroad, it was soon clear that Hunter’s valley campaign was not going to plan. Sheridan decided to rejoin Grant’s army. The Confederates were soon able to repair the damage to the railroad, and Lee’s supplies kept coming.
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