The Battle of Staunton River Bridge was an engagement on June 25, 1864, between Union and Confederate forces during Wilson-Kautz Raid of the American Civil War. The battle took place around the Staunton River Bridge, over the Staunton River, in Halifax and Charlotte counties, Virginia.
During the month of June 1864, Confederate General Robert E. Lee was commanding the Army of Northern Virginia in the defense of Petersburg, Virginia, against the Union siege under the command of Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. The Confederate forces were dependent on the flow of supplies from the south and west along the South Side and Richmond and Danville Railroad lines, and Grant realized that without these supplies the Confederates would be forced to abandon Petersburg.
Thus, Grant decided to dispatch Union cavalry to raid the rail lines and destroy them, thus cutting Lee off from his supplies. On June 22, 5,000 Union cavalry and 16 artillery pieces were pulled from the siege of Petersburg and sent, under the command of Brig. Gens. James H. Wilson and August V. Kautz, to destroy the lines of supply. During the next three days, despite pursuit and harassment from Confederate cavalry under the command of Maj. Gen. W.H.F. "Rooney" Lee, the Union cavalry succeeded in destroying 60 miles (97 km) of railway.
The Staunton River Bridge runs south-southwest to north-northeast over the River Staunton (which itself runs northwest to southeast) and along it runs the Richmond and Danville Railroad, a vital part of the supply system for the besieged Army of Northern Virginia. The bridge was defended by 296 Confederate reservists under the command of Captain Benjamin L. Farinholt, who had been warned on June 23 that Union cavalry forces were approaching his position. Heeding this warning, Farinholt dispatched couriers to the nearby areas of Halifax, Charlotte, and Mecklenburg in order to recruit additional forces, and on the morning of the battle, 642 reinfor...