The Charlottesville Manufacturing Company operated cotton and woolen mills that
produced Confederate uniforms. Owned by John A. Marchant from 1852 until 1864,
when his son, Henry Clay Marchant, bought it, the factory was burned by occupying
Union forces in 1865. (Henry Marchant reopened the facility in 1867 as the
Charlottesville Woolen Mills, and it became Albemarle County's largest
Finally, G. W. Wells and Brothers provided artificial limbs, including one for John Bell Hood. The Confederate general lost his right leg in September 1863 at the Battle of Chickamauga in Georgia, and while recuperating in Richmond, he received an artificial limb from Charlottesville despite the fact that one had been sent for him from France. "The Charlottesville leg is a far better looking one than the French one," the diarist Mary Boykin Chesnut observed in February 1865.
Charlottesville General Hospital
Charlottesville General Hospital employed approximately three hundred Charlottesville residents and grew to a capacity of 500 beds staffed by between fifteen and fifty doctors. Dr. J. L. Cabell, professor of anatomy and surgery at the University of Virginia, managed the facility and oversaw, among others, McKennie the sword maker and Dr. Orianna Moon, the hospital's superintendent of nurses. An Albemarle County native, Moon as a young woman was described as being antislavery, anti-religion, and pro-woman's rights. (Her sister was the Southern Baptist missionary Charlotte "Lottie" Moon.) An 1857 graduate of the Female Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she was one of only thirty-eight women that year who held medical degrees in the United States. Moon worked in Charlottesville only for a few months before relocating to Richmond in November 1861, having married her hospital colleague, Dr. John Summerfield Andrews.
The 19th Virginia fought at the First Battle of Manassas (1861) and the Battle of Williamsburg (1862), where it captured a Union battery and 200 prisoners. During the Seven Days' Battles (1862), the regiment captured another Union battery, but during the Maryland Campaign, which included the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862, the regiment suffered a casualty rate of more than 47 percent. It was worse the following summer. During Pickett's Charge, on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg (1863), the regiment lost 60 percent of its men killed or wounded, as well as its flag. (The Massachusetts soldier credited with capturing the colors was later awarded the Medal of Honor.) Of the approximately 1,600 men who served in the 19th Virginia's ranks over the course of the war, only 30 were left to surrender at the Battles of Sailor's Creek on April 6, 1865, just three days before Robert E. Leesurrendered to Union general-in-chief Ulysses S. Grant.
Charlottesville's most prominent citizens were slaveholders—from Dr. Cabell, who owned three slaves, to Uriah P. Levy, the owner of Monticello, who owned twenty-one. As such, they were invested in maintaining the antebellum social order and establishing harsh measures in instances where that order was disrupted. For instance, blacks were prohibited from smoking in public, with the punishment for noncompliance being ten lashes for slaves and a ten-dollar fine for free blacks. Curfews were set and enforced, prohibiting any slave from leaving his or her master's property past nine o'clock at night without written permission.
Authorities also cracked down on any mixing of the races. An African American man named Jackson who was living on University of Virginia property was removed in 1863 on the grounds that he was married to a white woman. Basil L. Gildersleeve, a professor of Greek and Hebrew at the university, spoke out against so-called miscegenation in an 1864 essay. He wrote that it was only by preventing a mixture of the races "that we owe the supremacy of the white man on the continent, and that we look down so proudly on the mixed population of Mexico and the twenty-two cross-breeds of Lima."
African Americans also took advantage of the shifting social conditions during the Civil War to establish their own Baptist congregation. About half of Charlottesville and Albemarle County's blacks, both free and enslaved, had a connection to the biracial First Baptist Church and its pastor, A. B. Brown. On April 20, 1863, these "African Baptists," as they referred to themselves, established their own congregation within the church, the Charlottesville African Church. "They expressed their initial desire to separate from the white church so mildly and with such courtesy that, for a time, whites did not understand precisely what was happening," the historian Charles F. Irons has written. African Americans were using the church to establish for themselves some level of autonomy.
Whites interpreted the black congregants' agreement to retain a white pastor, John T. Randolph, as an indication that they recognized their continued subservience to church authorities. But by June the blacks had rejected Randolph, prompting the church to reiterate that any new black congregation must "not place the colored brethren beyond the care and control of the church." Sometime between 1864 and 1867, the African Baptists fully separated from the First Baptist Church and moved into the basement of the Delevan building, at one time a University of Virginia temperance hotel and during the war used by Charlottesville General Hospital. Their new pastor was William Gibbons, a former slave. In 1867, a portion of the congregation formed Mount Zion, while, in 1884, the Delevan Church completed a new building and renamed itself the First Colored Baptist Church.
Custer's Raid and War's End
On February 29, 1864, Custer crossed the Rivanna near the Earlysville–Charlottesville road and launched a surprise attack against four battalions of the Stuart Horse Artillery Battalion, about 200 men in winter quarters and under the temporary command of Captain Marcellus Moorman. After Custer captured their camp and destroyed their equipment, the artillerymen briefly retreated to a nearby hill. When one of their caissons accidentally exploded, they made a half-hearted counterattack and Custer withdrew, mistakenly thinking that Confederate reinforcements had arrived.
Although the skirmish lasted less than an hour, and it was but a secondary piece
of the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid, residents designated it the "battle" of Rio Hill.
The "Great Albemarle Raid" as a whole led to little appreciable results; Custer
destroyed the Confederate camp but failed to divert many troops from the Richmond
defenses or to reach Charlottesville. Perhaps in an attempt to salvage some good
news from what turned out to be the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren fiasco, Union general George G. Meade, commander
of the Army of the
Following Confederate general Jubal A. Early's defeat at the Third Battle of Waynesboro on March 2, 1865, and fearing pillaging by advancing Union troops, town and university officials surrendered to Union generals Philip H. Sheridan and George Custer on March 3, 1865. Union forces initially occupied Charlottesville for three days. Following Lee's surrender a month later, the town came under the jurisdiction of the Army of the James, and the new occupation force consisted of a regiment of Pennsylvania cavalry. A local newspaper sullenly conceded: "The Virginia of the past we shall not know again any more than we can revive the Middle Ages."
1762 - Charlottesville is founded and named in honor of Queen Charlotte, consort of Great Britain's King George III.
1819 - Thomas Jefferson founds the University of Virginia about a mile west of Charlottesville.
1852–1864 - The Charlottesville Manufacturing Company, which operates cotton and woolen mills, is owned by John A. Marchant.
April 1861 - Four infantry companies—two each of town and university men—organize into the Charlottesville and University Battalion.
May 1861 - The 19th Virginia Infantry Regiment is formed mostly out of Charlottesville and Albemarle County recruits, with University of Virginia and West Point graduate Philip St. George Cocke as its colonel.
July 1861 - Charlottesville General Hospital, a sprawling Confederate military medical facility, opens in Charlottesville and takes over various public and private buildings throughout the town, including hotels, churches, and facilities belonging to the University of Virginia. Its first patients are Confederate soldiers wounded at Manassas.
November 1861 - Dr. Orianna Moon, Charlottesville General Hospital's superintendent of nurses, relocates to Richmond, having married her hospital colleague Dr. John Summerfield Andrews.
1862–1864 - Approximately 940 enslaved African Americans are impressed into labor by Confederate authorities in Charlottesville and Albemarle County.
1862 - The 19th Virginia Infantry's regimental band, formerly the Charlottesville Silver Cornet Band, dissolves.
September 17, 1862 - The 19th Virginia Infantry, composed mostly of men from Charlottesville and Albemarle County, suffers more than a 47 percent casualty rate at the Battle of Antietam.
1863 - An African American man named Jackson who had been living on University of Virginia property is removed on the grounds that he is married to a white woman.
1863 - Four enslaved African Americans in Charlottesville murder a Confederate officer attempting to impress their labor for the war effort.
April 20, 1863 - The March 16 petition by black congregants of Charlottesville's First Baptist Church to establish the Charlottesville African Church is accepted by white church leaders.
July 3, 1863 - The 19th Virginia Infantry, comprised mostly of men from Charlottesville and Albemarle County, suffers a 60 percent casualty rate and loses its flag during Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg.
1864 - John A. Marchant sells the Charlottesville Manufacturing Company, which operates a cotton and woolen mills, to his son, Henry Clay Marchant. The factory is burned by occupying Union forces the following year.
February 29, 1864 - Union general George A. Custer menaces Charlottesville and Albemarle County as part of the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid on Richmond. He is repulsed by local militia in a short skirmish on Rio Hill.
April 18, 1864 - In an essay, Basil L. Gildersleeve, a University of Virginia professor of Greek and Hebrew, speaks out against so-called miscegenation, claiming that to prevent it is to guarantee white supremacy.
March 3, 1865 - Charlottesville and University of Virginia officials surrender the town to Union generals Philip H. Sheridan and George A. Custer. Union forces burn the Charlottesville Manufacturing Company.
April 6, 1865 - The 19th Virginia Infantry, comprised mostly of men from Charlottesville and Albemarle County, surrenders its thirty remaining men to Union forces following the Battle of Sailor's Creek.
1867 - Henry Clay Marchant reopens the former Charlottesville Manufacturing Company, burned during the Union occupation two years earlier, as the Charlottesville Woolen Mills. It becomes Albemarle County's largest industry.
Cite This Entry
- APA Citation:
Jordan, E. L., Jr. Charlottesville during the Civil War. (2015, November 19). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Charlottesville_During_the_Civil_War.
- MLA Citation:
Jordan, Ervin L., Jr. "Charlottesville during the Civil War." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 19 Nov. 2015. Web. READ_DATE.
First published: January 21, 2010 | Last modified: November 19, 2015
Contributed by Ervin L. Jordan Jr., an associate professor and research archivist at the University of Virginia's Small Special Collections Library. He writes about Civil War Virginia and African American history.