Thursday, November 7, 2013
Rappahannock Station 150th
Sign for the Town of Remington, Virginia. This Fauquier County Town was known as Rappahannock Station during the Civil War, and sits where the old Orange & Alexandria Railroad crosses the Rappahannock River.
Today, 7 November, is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Rappahannock Station (the Second Battle of Rappahannock Station according to some). The battle was the last in the unfolding of the Bristoe Campaign. Rappahannock Station is now known as the Town of Remington, in Fauquier County, Virginia. Remington is one of three towns in Fauquier -- along with Warrenton and The Plains.
Robert E. Lee and his Confederate Army of Northern Virginia had withdrawn south of the Rappahannock River into Culpeper County, Virginia, but maintained a defensive line along the river to face the pursuing Union Army of the Potomac under George Meade.
Historical Marker for the battle at Remington, VA [cf., http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=2525]
Lee left a force on the north (Fauquier Co.) side of the river -- the Lousiana Tigers of CS General Harry Hays -- to block a Union crossing at Rappahannock Station (Modern Remington, where the Orange & Alexandria RR crosses the Rappahannock), and force the Union army to cross at Kelly's Ford to the South. At that point, Lee would strike the fording Army of the Potomac. It would not go as planned, even with three extra North Carolina regiments joining the Tigers.
Left: CS General Harry Hays; Right: US General John Sedgwick
The Union VI Corps of US Major General John Sedgwick surprised the Confederate force defending Rappahannock Station that evening of 7 November and managed to capture 1,673 prisoners, with 400 Southerners swimming the river to escape -- and US Major General William French's III Corps captured another 300 Confederates at Kelly's Ford. All this at a loss of 461 Union troops.
These setbacks convinced Lee to fall back beyond the Rapidan River into Orange County, Virginia, to spend the winter. Meade would follow, and the armies would face down one another once more before the year of 1863 was spent -- this along the Mine Run.
Here is the NPS Battle Description: http://www.cr.nps.gov/hps/abpp/battles/va043.htm