The Battle of Lynchburg was a battle that took place during the American Civil War. The battle took place in Lynchburg, Virginia on the days of June 17 and 18, 1864. During the Civil War, Lynchburg was used as a supply and hospital center. However, it became a battleground when Union General David Hunter advanced to Lynchburg after moving through the Shenandoah Valley.
Lynchburg was not only major because of its hospital and supply, but it was a connection in the railroad that supplied the Confederate troops. Both armies were believed to have a relatively similar amount of troops. However, General Hunter had two major problems. He was supposed to receive help from another Union army; that army never showed up because they had suffered a major setback at Trevilian Station and were forced to retreat to an area around Richmond and Petersburg. The other, and perhaps most devastating, issue was that Hunter's supply lines were being destroyed. Between May 20 and June 17, only one supply wagon had reached Union forces from Hunter.
The Union army seemed doomed from the start. Firstly, the Union army moved too slow. Next, the night before the battle began, trains could be heard moving up and down the tracks. Also, various instruments such as bugles and drums were heard by Hunter's troops. Even the people of Lynchburg made noise by having bands play and citizens scream. This made the Confederate army seem to be larger than it really was.
On June 17, the Union army seemed to be making progress when they bullied Confederate General Jubal Early's troops into the town of Lynchburg. Around that same time, Early's reinforcements had arrived from the town of Charlottesville, Virginia. This extra assistance, led by Generals John Breckinridge and Francis Nicholls, proved helpful because it caused Hunter's army to retreat.
The day after, Early elected to remain defensive and wait for some more of his men to arrive. Early's troops dug a defensive line two miles away from the city limits. The Union army attacked, but was repulsed. Early then prepared to begin an attack of his own. It appeared that Early felt as though he had the upper hand because he launched his attack on June 18. By this time, Hunter's army had moved into the Blue Ridge Mountains. Early's army moved sixty miles in three days. At that point, Early called off the pursuit and awaited for Hunter to make a move. Hunter decided to move across the Shenandoah Valley and into West Virginia.
The Battle of Lynchburg proved to be quite helpful in the Confederates' fight against the Union. Hunter's retreat made it possible for Early to freely move up the Shenandoah Valley. Early's army advanced up through Maryland and even made it as far as Washington D.C. This was an obvious victory for the Confederates because it allowed them to move further north and allowed their supply lines to remain open via the railroads.
Union headquarters was at Sandusky House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, and now operated as a house museum.