The History of Dublin and the Civil War
Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain
In 1864, under the orders of General Ulysses S. Grant, Brigadier General George Crook and three brigades of the Army of West Virginia marched south through the Appalachian Mountains. Their intentions were destroying the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad. This railroad was under the protection of the Confederates.
On May 9, 1864, after receiving reports of Union forces in the area, the Confederates prepared for defense at Cloyd’s Mountain, near Dublin in Pulaski County. Militia joined in the defense, including the minister of the Blacksburg Presbyterian Church. This church in Blacksburg is the only antebellum worship structure still standing in the town. The current New Dublin Presbyterian Church was built in 1875, incorporated an earlier structure.
Early fighting at Cloyd’s Mountain appeared to favor Confederates, but the persistence of the Union Soldiers eventually broke through, forcing the Confederates to retreat. The battle lasted for one fierce hour, brutal hand-to-hand combat. One participant recalled that “most of the regiments engaged in it had served in greater and more important battles, but all united in the opinion that, for fierce and deadly intensity, Cloyd[‘s] Mountain exceeded them all”. Making matters worse, a fire broke out on the battlefield and many wounded soldiers died in the flames.
Confederate forces lost not only the battle, but also their commander. Their Commander was wounded in battle, and later died in hospital due to improper care after an amputation. Casualties were high for the relatively low number of troops engaged and the short duration of the battle: 688 Union and 538 Confederate.
After the battle, the victorious Union forces pressed further into Virginia, burning the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad depot at Dublin before turning towards the strategically important New River Bridge at Central Depot (Radford). Dublin Depot was important, as a supply depot. It was also one of three locations in Virginia where captured runaway slaves were kept until their owners could reclaim them. The current historic depot building dates to 1913. The New River Bridge was destroyed on May 10.
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