History comes alive in downtown Buchanan during the annual Buchanan Civil War History Weekend Friday-Sunday, April 26-28. See the flash, smell the smoke and feel the ground shake as cannons echo across the valley.
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.
Union 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 General John 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 30 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 and 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.
All 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 Allegheny 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.