Mountain Road Walking Tour

Virginia Civil War Trails - Wilson-Kautz Raid

The Virginia Civil War Trails Web Site

Halifax Courthouse

In June 1864, to deny Gen. Robert E. Lee the use of the South Side R.R. and the Richmond and Danville R.R., Gen. Ulysses S. Grant sent Gen. James H. Wilson and Gen. August V. Kautz south of Petersburg on a cavalry raid to destroy track and rolling stock as well as the Staunton River Bridge.

On the morning of June 23, Confederate Capt. Benjamin L. Farinholt dispatched a courier from the bridge to Halifax (then called Banister Town) requesting reinforcements. Capt. William B. Hurt mustered his company of home guards, composed of old men from the community, and Headmaster John Henry Powell gathered young students from his Halifax Academy.

On June 25, these old men and young boys helped defend the bridge from destruction by the Wilson-Kautz raiders. (See Staunton River Battlefield State Park.)

Capt. Hurt recalled: "Capt. Farinholt ordered three or four of his companies to cross over the bridge and reinforce Col. Coleman and in obeying these orders, in my humble judgement, these little boys and old men rendered as valiant and faithful service as ever was rendered on any battlefield .... These little untrained boys and gray-headed farmers ... arose from their position of partial safety and protection and with firm and steady step, marched into the very jaws of death itself."

As Capt. Hurt came from the mouth of the bridge on the North side, at the head of his Company, he was wounded by a bullet that struck his belt buckle and glanced into his side.

After General Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox on April 9, 1865 the Federal VI Corps passed through Halifax on its way to occupy Danville. The ca. 1830 Halifax Academy, located on Academy Street, later became a public school and is now privately owned. The county seat of Banister Town as it was called during the war, became Houston in 1890, and after WWI changed its name to Halifax.

From the Wilson-Kautz Raid marker, cross the street to visit the War Memorial, and then continue west on Mountain Road to Academy Street. After about 250 yards you will pass by Magnolia Hill on the right which is facing Acadamy Street. After another 150 yards you will come to the old Halifax Academy.

Virginia Civil War Trails - Wilson-Kautz Raid - West Point Staff Ride

US Military Academy at West Point

Cavalry & Scout Club Web Site

Annual Civil War Staff Ride Trip Schedule

• Photos: Ernies Restaurant - Battlefield

Cadet Thanks

West Point Cadets March Through County's History - Gazette-Virginian News Story April 17, 2006

West Point cadets visit local battlefield - News & Record - April 17, 2006

Berry Hill History

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