Saturday, October 12, 2013

Auburn (Coffee Hill) 150th Anniversary

Tomorrow is the 150th Anniversary of the First Battle of Auburn.  This clash marked some of the initial contact between the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac in the October 1863 Bristoe Station Campaign.

File:Bristoe Campaign.png
Map of the Bristoe Campaign, October-November 1863. [Drawn in Adobe Illustrator CS6 by Hal Jespersen. Graphic source file is available at]

In the wake of Gettysburg, and both of the contending armies returning to Virginia, each side had detached troops to contribute to the campaign in the West -- the battles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga both saw men involved who had been campaigning in the Eastern Theatre.

CS General Robert E. Lee, who had been in Orange County, Virginia with his Army of Northern Virginia, saw an opportunity to march around the Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by US General George G. Meade, and situated in Culpeper County, Virginia.

Stuart's Bivouac Marker Photo, Click for full size
Historical sign just south of Auburn around the site of the First Battle of Auburn.

Lee was trying to march his force around the Union by going around them to the west -- departing on 9 October 1863, they were soon in Warrenton, Virginia.  This movement forced Meade and the Union army to fall back down along the line of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad.  On 13 October 1863, "Stuart, with Fitzhugh Lee and Lomax’s brigades, skirmished with the rearguard of the Union III Corps near Auburn. Finding himself cut off by retreating Federal columns, Stuart secreted his troopers in a wooded ravine until the unsuspecting Federals moved on." [cf.,]

You might also note this account: Civil War Daily Gazette Account of 13 October 1863

Battle of Coffee Hill Marker
Historical Marker at the location of the Second Battle of Auburn (Coffee Hill), 14 October 1863.  You can see the Cedar Run behind the sign.  (cf.,

The next day, 14 October, Stuart and his men, cut off from Lee at Warrenton, decided to hack their way through the Union troops in their way during what is known as the Second Battle of Auburn -- surprising these Federal men during breakfast and upending quite a number of Coffee Pots -- hence the alternative name for this battle: Coffee Hill (cf.,

Recently, a driving tour of the locations of this campaign has been organized -- it is well done, and worth your time:  The tour begins in Warrenton, Virginia.

On Monday, we shall note the main battle of the campaign: Bristoe Station.

Live well!

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