As the last leg of the James River and Kanawha Canal, Buchanan served as an important Confederate supply depot for shipment of agricultural produce and pig iron to Richmond. Buchanan’s farmers provided the Confederate quartermaster with beef, cotton, yarn and corn as well as troops for the Confederate war effort, most notably the Botetourt Artillery. The unit distinguished itself in the defense of Vicksburg.
Federal General David Hunter marched through Buchanan on June 13, 1864 on his ill-fated raid in Lynchburg. The following day Confederate General J.D. Imboden reported that Hunter had driven Confederate troops under McCausland’s command out of Buchanan. Period letters tell how McCausland burned the covered bridge over the James River before leaving igniting a fire which destroyed close to thirty buildings.
Personal letters of the era also tell of the devastation to Buchanan caused by the war including the burning of Col. John Anderson’s home known as Mount Joy, the three day Federal occupation of Oak Hill, the Anchorage, the Presbyterian Manse as well as other private homes and offices throughout Town. The battle flag of the Botetourt Artillery was said to have been made from the wedding dress of Cassandra Anderson, owner of Mount Joy.
You and your family are invited to explore one of the lesser known sites of the War Between the States in downtown Buchanan. Discover how this tiny riverfront community nestled within the steep slopes of the Blue Ridge and Alleghany Mountains was thrust into the battle. Learn about Buchanan’s resistance to Union General David Hunter and thousands of troops tried as they fought to secure the James River Bridge, one of the many steps as Union forces made their ill fated march to Lynchburg on June 13, 1864 as you explore the four VA Civil War Trails locations in Buchanan, Virginia.
Save the last weekend of April to visit Buchanan and explore Buchanan’s Civil War roots during our annual Civil War History Weekend. For additional information check the Events page of our website.