Cattle (Beefsteak) Raid
Posted by: showbizkid
N 37° 08.911 W 077° 31.180
18S E 276227 N 4114320
Quick Description: In the autumn of 1864 the Confederate Army of General Robert E. Lee faced more than Grant's forces across the breastworks at Petersburg. They were hungry and short on rations. Intelligence reports of 3,000 lightly defended "beeves" in the possession of the Union was news too good to pass up.
Location: Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 8/27/2006 2:30:08 PM
Waymark Code: WMNM3
Shortages plagued the rebel ranks in fall of 1864. Lee's cavalry chief, Wade Hampton, figured a way of relieving these empty bellies. He had word from one of his scouts that five miles east of Grant's headquarters on the James River in the vicinity of Coggins Point was a sizable herd of lightly defended cattle. "Three thousand beeves," went the report. This was a perfect gambit for the fun-loving, popular Hampton. He could embarrass the Yankees, raise Southern morale, and deal with hunger in the ranks with one blow.
General Grant had to go up into the Shenandoah Valley to confer with Phil Sheridan and left on September 4th. Thanks to Confederate spies, Hampton had known about this so-called secret trip for five days and he was ready to move. Taking 3000 men including several certified Texas cattle thieves, Hampton rode south, then east and then north all the way around the unwary Union Army. At five in the morning of the 16th, Hampton's men struck, captured just short of 2500 head of beef, and made it back to Confederate lines by 9:00 the following morning.
In a season filled with bad news, the so-called Beefsteak Raid gave a decided boost to southern morale. Lincoln called it "the slickest piece of cattle-stealing" he had ever heard of. When Grant was asked when he expected to starve out Lee and take Richmond, he said, "Never, if our armies continue to supply him with beef-cattle."
The marker reads:
Leaving from a point along the Confederate
right flank on Boydton Plank Road on 14 Dept.
1864, Maj. Gen. Wade Hampton took about 3,000
Confederate cavalrymen and rode more than
100 miles around the rear of the Union army.
Reaching Coggin’s Point on the James River on
the 16 Sept., the raiders successfully captured
almost 2,500 head of cattle from the Federals
and returned to their lines relatively unmolested.
The next day the cattle were penned in the
field east of Boydton Plank Road until being
slaughtered for the Confederate troops in the