24 March 2015
(Part 1 of 2)
On April 9, 1865 General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse and the Civil War ended. The date will end the observance of the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War. Fluvanna County native Minnie Lee McGehee has written a narrative weaving memories (both oral and written) of the Civil War in Fluvanna which she has accumulated during her years of research into the county’s history.
THE YANKEES ARE COMING!
In the spring of 1865 Union Major General Philip H. Sheridan dispatched the First Michigan Cavalry “to strike the Rivanna River near Fluvanna Court House to destroy all public property.”
Most picture the Union troops who destroyed the bridge and mill at Palmyra as foot soldiers. But no, the Cavalry approached from the north, for the sharp ears of the boys in the Center Hill School at Bybee first announced that they heard the hooves of horses thundering down the dirt road, far away, but coming!
Cavalry! Yankee Cavalry! Edgar Loving was 82 years old when he enjoyed telling how his teacher, Shandy Holland, wisely dismissed classes to allow the students to watch the Yankee men on their horses pass by. It took them two hours to pass, wrote Mr. Loving: riding, riding to destroy the mill and covered bridge at Palmyra!
General Thomas C. Devin, Commander of the Union Army’s First Cavalry Division, reported that his troops destroyed the covered bridge at Palmyra. However, Confederate Captain Philip B. Hiden of Company A, 13th Virginia Regiment, said he and his company were ordered to cover General Robert E. Lee’s westward retreat by burning all bridges and sinking all boats, and that one of the bridges he burned was the one at Palmyra.