Portrait of Ulysses S. Grant

Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant considered the Wilson-Kautz Raid a success. He later commented that “The damage to the enemy in the expedition more than compensated for the losses we sustained.” [Wikimedia Commons]

Wilson-Kautz Raid Facts

June 22–July 1, 1864

Key facts about the Wilson-Kautz Cavalry raid of 1864.

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Date

  • June 22–July 1, 1864

Location

  • Central Virginia

Campaign

  • Petersburg

Principal Union Commanders

  • Brigadier General James Wilson
  • Brigadier General August Kautz

Principal Confederate Commanders

Union Forces Engaged

  • Wilson’s Cavalry Division (Army of the Potomac)
  • Kautz’s Cavalry Division (Army of the James)

Confederate Forces Engaged

  • Hampton’s Cavalry Division
  • Fitzhugh Lee’s Cavalry Division
  • Rooney Lee’s Cavalry Division
  • Mahone’s Infantry Division

Number of Union Soldiers Engaged

  • Roughly 5,500

Number of Confederate Soldiers Engaged

  • Roughly 5,000

Estimated Union Casualties

  • Roughly 1,400

Estimated Confederate Casualties

  • Roughly 650-700

Result

  • Mixed

Significance

  • Planning for the Wilson-Kautz raid began on June 20, 1864.
  • On June 22, 1864, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant and Major General George G. Meade dispatched the Third Cavalry Division of the Army of the Potomac, commanded by Brigadier General James H. Wilson, along with the Second Cavalry Division of the Army of the James, commanded by Brigadier General August Kautz, on a raid against the Weldon Railroad, the Southside Railroad and the Richmond & Danville Railroad in central Virginia.
  • Brigadier General James Wilson was the overall commander of Union forces during the Wilson-Kautz Raid.
  • The primary objective of the Wilson-Kautz Raid was to demolish as much railroad track as possible in central Virginia in order to delay or prevent supplies from reaching General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in Richmond.
  • The Confederate victory at the Battle of Staunton River Bridge on June 25, 1864, was one of three major engagements of the Wilson-Kautz Raid.
  • The Confederate victory at the Battle of Sappony Church on June 28, 1864, was one of three major engagements of the Wilson-Kautz Raid.
  • The Confederate victory at the Battle of Ream’s Station I on June 29, 1864, was one of three major engagements of the Wilson-Kautz Raid.
  • The Battle of Ream’s Station I, and the subsequent Union retreat, marked the conclusion of the Wilson-Kautz Raid.
  • By the time that the raiders returned to Union lines on July 1, 1864, they had inflicted moderate damage to Confederate infrastructure in the area.
  • Generals Wilson and Kautz lost nearly 1,400 troopers, all of their artillery, and many horses during the Wilson-Kautz Raid.
  • General Ulysses S. Grant considered the Wilson-Kautz Raid a success. He later commented that “The damage to the enemy in the expedition more than compensated for the losses we sustained.”

Timeline of the Petersburg Campaign

These are the main battles and events of the Petersburg Campaign in order.

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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Wilson-Kautz Raid Facts
  • Coverage June 22–July 1, 1864
  • Author
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 31, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 19, 2021
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