#OnThisDay 1864 Lieut. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant ordered Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan, whose parents were from Cavan, his cavalry commander, to embark on a raid westward from Grant’s army near Cold Harbor. Sheridan’s tasks were to draw Confederate attention away from Grant’s upcoming movement south, destroy railroads connecting the Shenandoah Valley with the Confederate armies, and join up with Brig. Gen. David Hunter in Charlottesville. Near Trevilian Station, On June 11th Sheridan clashed with Confederate cavalry under Maj. Gens. Wade Hampton and Fitzhugh Lee. Brig. Gen. George Custer briefly captured Hampton’s supply train. Confederate brigades soon surrounded Custer’s men, and only the arrival of other troopers saved Custer and allowed the capture of Trevilian Station. The next morning, after damaging several miles of railroad, the Union cavalry made several assaults against a fortified Confederate line, but each attack was repulsed. The Union had suffered over 1500 casualties to the Confederate’s 800.
Ultimately, Sheridan was forced to withdraw. He had succeeded in drawing attention away from Grant, but failed to substantially interrupt supply lines or join up with Hunter. The battle at Trevilian Station was the largest all-cavalry battle of the Civil War.