Civil War

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As part of the American South, Charlottesville, Albemarle County and the University of Virginia were all affected by the Civil War between the Union and the Confederacy. However, most of the area was largely spared the brunt of conflict.

Charlottesville was home to the Charlottesville General Hospital, with 500 beds, that treated over 22,000 wounded soldiers. The hospital was run by Dr. James L. Cabell, a professor of medicine at UVa[1].

Some buildings in Scottsville were used as Confederate hospitals[2].

Citizens of the area were likely to join the 19th Virginia Infantry Regiment, which fought as part of the Army of Northern Virginia[1].

Charlottesville was spared from destruction when city leaders surrendered to General George Custer[1].

A mill owned by the Marchant family was destroyed in 1865 by Union forces. The Charlottesville Manufacturing Company had been manufacturing uniforms for Confederate soliders[1].

Key sites


  • June 1862: Major General Stonewall Jackson led his army through Albemarle County through the Brown's Gap Turnpike on his way to join the Confederate defenses in Richmond[3].
  • February 29, 1864: General George Custer lead a diversionary raid and crossed the Rivanna near Earlysville, launching a surprise attack on the Stuart Horse Artillery Battalion. Custer's 1,500 men captured the camp, but retreated after mistakenly believing Confederate reinforcements had arrived. This is known as the Battle of Rio Hill[1].
  • March 3, 1865: Major General Philip H. Sheridan's Union Army of the Shenandoah entered Charlottesville to destroy railroad facilities as the 3rd Cavalry Division led by Brevet Major General George A. Custer arrived from Waynesboro. Mayor Christopher H. Fowler[3], other local officials, and University of Virginia professors Socrates Maupin and John B. Minor and Rector Thomas L. Preston met Custer, just east of here. Fowler surrendered the town, and the professors asked that the university be protected, "for it would always be a national asset." Custer agreed and posted guards during the three-day occupation. The University suffered little damage, unlike the Virginia Military Institute, which had been burned in June 1864[4]. The tracks of the Virginia Central Railroad were torn up and a depot was destroyed, but otherwise the city was spared[3].
  • March 6, 1865: Union soldiers crossed the James River at Scottsville on their way to join General Ulysses Grant at Petersburg. They destroyed canal locks and buildings[2].



Charlottesville's Lee Park and Jackson Park are named after confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, respectively.


A group of historians, tourists and history buffs are currently planning the region's approach to the 150th anniversary of the civil war[citation needed].


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Jordan Jr., Ervin L. "Charlottesville During the Civil War." Encyclopedia Virginia. Ed. Brendan Wolfe. 23 Aug. 2010. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. 29 Jan. 2010 <>.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Charlottesville: Civil War Traveler: Central Virginia." Civil War Travel. Web. 23 Aug. 2010. <>.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Lay, Edward K. The Architecture of Jefferson Country: Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Google Books. Web. 23 Aug. 2010. <>.
  4. "Charlottesville : Occupation of Charlottesville." Charlottesville : Home. Web. 23 Aug. 2010. <>.