Battle of Buckland Mills

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Battle of Buckland Mills
Virginia Civil War History

Other Names: Buckland Races, Chestnut Hill

Location: Fauquier County

Campaign: Bristoe Campaign (October–November 1863)

Date(s): October 19, 1863

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. J. Kilpatrick [US]; Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart [CS]

Forces Engaged: Divisions

Estimated Casualties: 300 total

Result(s): Confederate victory

Battle of Buckland Mills Map
Buckland Mills Civil War Battlefield Map.gif
Buckland Mills Civil War Battlefield Map

Summary: After defeat at Bristoe Station and an aborted advance on Centreville, Stuart’s cavalry shielded the withdrawal of Lee’s army from the vicinity of Manassas Junction. Union cavalry under Kilpatrick pursued Stuart’s cavalry along the Warrenton Turnpike but were lured into an ambush near Chestnut Hill and routed.  The Federal troopers were scattered and chased five miles in an affair that came to be known as the “Buckland Races.” The Battle of Buckland Mills was among the Confederate cavalry's last victories of the Civil War, and marked a turning point in the Bristoe campaign.

Battle: On October 19, 1863, 12,000 Confederate and Union cavalry clashed at the Battle of Buckland Mills in the last large-scale Confederate victory in Virginia. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, screening the Confederate infantry’s march to Culpeper County, blocked Union Gen. H. Judson Kilpatrick’s advance at Buckland, then withdrew west. Union Gen. Henry E. Davies’s brigade pursued Stuart while Gen. George A. Custer’s brigade occupied Buckland. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee suddenly attacked Custer from the south, isolating the two brigades, and Stuart charged Davies. The Federals fled east. The Confederates called the engagement the “Buckland Race.”

On the morning of October 19, 1863, two cavalry commands occupied this ground in succession. Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart and his men held it from about 10 A.M. until noon before withdrawing west along the Warrenton Turnpike as Union Gen. George A. Custer’s cavalry brigade approached from your left. Custer occupied this position while Gen. Henry E. Davies’s brigade passed, lured west by Stuart.

Battle of Buckland Mills
Battle of Buckland Mills.jpg
Buckland Mills Battlefield Map

Early in the afternoon, as Custer’s men rested in the then-open fields before you, Confederate Gen. Fitzhugh Lee’s division struck from the woods to your right front, pushing Custer back here and separating his brigade from Davies’s at New Baltimore. Lee drove Custer east from here across the Broad Run bridge toward Gainesville, and the Confederates held this ground again by evening. Lee pursued Custer until long after dark, and Stuart drove Davies beyond Broad Run upstream from here. The Confederates lost about 50 men, the Federals about 260, mostly prisoners. Stuart termed the rout, his last victory over cavalry, “the most complete that any cavalry … suffered during this war.” Custer called the day “the most disastrous this division ever passed through.”

Source: National Park Service

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Try the Search Engine for Related Studies: Battle of Buckland Mills Buckland Races Chestnut Hill Battle of Bristoe Campaign Battlefield Civil War Pictures History Maps Details Confederate Cavalry General JEB Stuart Kilpatrick Manassas Junction

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