Walker's Last Stand

Walker's Last Stand (HM1LCV)

Location: Appomattox, VA 24522 Appomattox County
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 21.914', W 78° 49.595'

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Custer's Charges

One of the last battles of the Civil War in Virginia took place here early in the evening of April 8, 1865. Confederate Gen. Reuben L. Walker, who commanded 100 guns of Gen. Robert E. Lee's reserve artillery, made camp here late in the afternoon. Walker was shaving, and his men were cooking rations when Federal cavalrymen burst from the woods south of here. Walker formed one-third of his batteries into a semicircle, and his men began firing.

Gen. George A. Custer commanded the charging Federals, who had just captured Confederate supply trains at nearby Appomattox Station. Fighting without infantry support, Walker's men repulsed the first three charges, but at 8 P.M. Custer's final assault resulted in the capture of 25 cannon, 200 wagons, and 1,000 prisoners. Most of Walker's command fled north to Oakville where the men buried 54 guns and disbanded the next day. Custer's advance also secured the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road. By holding the high ground west of Appomattox Court House, the Federal cavalry blocked Lee's escape route and forced his surrender the next day.

"Custer's Division, as usual, went in on a charge. We had a thick piece of woods to get through to reach their Artillery. ... We received the most terrible fire of cannister that ever I saw. ... Soon getting out of the thicket we went on a perfect jump. Suddenly I felt a blow and a numbing sensation across my breast, & found myself turning a double summer set off into the bushes."— Lt. Eri D. Woodbury, 1st Vermont Cavalry

Pvt. Bernard Shields, 2nd West Virginia Cavalry, received the Medal of Honor for striking down Pvt. William Davis. 2nd Co., Washington Artillery of New Orleans, and capturing the battery's flag from Davis.
Pvt. Bernard Shields Courtesy John Elder Pvt. William Davis Courtesy Tulane University
(top center) Gen. Reuben L. Walker >Courtesy Valentine Richmond History Center
Gen. George A. Custer Courtesy Library of Congress
(top right) Lt. Eri D. Woodbury, received Medal of Honor for actions at Battle of Cedar Creek, Oct. 19, 1864 - Courtesy Francis Guber Collection
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, June 27th, 2015 at 6:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 692465 N 4137606
Decimal Degrees37.36523333, -78.82658333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 21.914', W 78° 49.595'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 21' 54.84" N, 78° 49' 35.7" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)434
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 249 Jamerson Ln, Appomattox VA 24522, US
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