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150 Years Ago Today: The Wilson-Kautz Cavalry Raid Begins: June 22, 1864

The Wilson-Kautz Cavalry Raid Begins: June 22, 1864:

Brief Summary: The Wilson-Kautz Cavalry Raid began early on the morning of June 22, 1864.  The effort was conceived by Ulysses S. Grant in order to attack two of Lee’s supply lines, the South Side Railroad running into Petersburg, and the Richmond & Danville Railroad running into Richmond.  This effort was part of Grant’s Second Offensive, and was launched while the Union Second and Sixth Corps were providing a major diversion at the Battle of Jerusalem Plank Road.  The raid was led by Union cavalry division commander James H. Wilson, and included his own division as well as August V. Kautz’s cavalry division from the Army of the James.  Although many miles of railroad was damaged, this was repaired fairly quickly.  To make matters worse, a combined Confederate cavalry and infantry force nearly surrounded and annihilated both divisions at Reams’ Station on June 29, 1864.  Though most of the troopers escaped, much equipment was lost.  The Richmond and Petersburg papers had a field day during and after the raid claiming Union cavalrymen stole everything they could carry, and in some cases, this wasn’t far from the truth.  Here is a list of the skirmishes and battles which occurred during the approximately week long raid:

  • Reams’ Station (June 22, 1864)
  • Nottoway Court-House (June 23, 1864)
  • Staunton River Bridge, or Roanoke Station (June 25, 1864)
  • Sappony Church, or Stony Creek (June 28-29, 1864)
  • Reams’ Station (June 29, 1864)


Map Drawn by Hal Jespersen – www.cwmaps.com


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