Stuart's Ride

Stuart's Ride (HM1616)

Location: Quinton, VA 23141 New Kent County
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 34.381', W 77° 5.714'

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Tunstall's Station

— 1862 Peninsula Campaign —

In May 1862, Union Gen. George B. McClellan led the Army of the Potomac up the Peninsula to the gates of Richmond. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia in June and began planning a counterattack. On June 12, Gen. J.E.B. Stuart led 1,200 cavalrymen on a daring 3-day reconnaissance and discovered that the Union right was unsecured. Stuart's "Ride around McClellan" gave Lee the vital information he needed to launch the offensive known as the Seven Days' Battles on June 26.

Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart and his cavalrymen approached Tunstall's Station late in the day on June 13, 1862. Stuart ordered a detachment to cut telegraph wires and obstruct the Richmond and York River Railroad, the Army of the Potomac's main supply route. The troopers captured two squads of Union infantry and station guards without firing a shot. Next, they chopped down two telegraph poles and tried but failed to burn the railroad bridge across Black Creek.

As a train approached from the west, the cavalrymen, who had been ordered to tear up track, tried to throw the switch that would send the cars onto a siding, but a stout lock thwarted them. They then cut trees and blocked the track. Suddenly, they heard a shrill whistle. Stuart quickly posted men on a high bank overlooking the nearby railroad cut. When the train arrived, Stuart ordered the engineer to halt. The locomotive, Speedwell was drawing a 20-car train of freight cars that held 200-300 Union soldiers. Instead of stopping, engineer Charles Condell poured on steam and crashed through the obstructions on the track as the Confederates opened fire and killed or wounded some of the Federals. A few returned fire, while others lay flat on the floors or jumped off the train and ran into the woods.

The train sped up and soon disappeared toward the well-guarded Union supply depot at White House Landing on the Pamunkey River four miles away. Knowing that the Federals would be alerted, Stuart hurried the destruction of everything that could not be carried. With prisoners in tow, he pressed on toward Talleysville.
HM NumberHM1616
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Year Placed2012
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 at 9:01am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 314971 N 4160505
Decimal Degrees37.57301667, -77.09523333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 34.381', W 77° 5.714'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 34' 22.86" N, 77° 5' 42.84" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)804
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 11040 Tunstall Station Rd, Quinton VA 23141, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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