Bloomfield, Va., Nov. 29, 1864
The Battle of Bloomfield, also known as the Skirmish at Bloomfield or the Affair at Bloomfield, occurred on November 29, 1864, during the American Civil War. This relatively small engagement took place in Prince William County, Virginia, between Confederate cavalry under the command of Brigadier General Lunsford L. Lomax and Union cavalry led by Brigadier General Wesley Merritt.
By the fall of 1864, the Confederate army was on the defensive in Virginia. Union General Ulysses S. Grant had launched a series of offensives aimed at crushing General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. One of these offensives was the Valley Campaigns, led by Union General Philip Sheridan, which aimed to capture the Shenandoah Valley and disrupt Confederate supply lines.
On November 28, 1864, Merritt’s cavalry division had advanced south from Fairfax Courthouse to Warrenton, Virginia, where they were informed of Confederate activity in the area. Lomax’s cavalry division had been dispatched to attack Union supply wagons and was moving through Prince William County towards Warrenton. The two cavalry divisions collided near Bloomfield the following day.
The battle began when Union pickets encountered Confederate cavalry around 11:00 AM. Merritt quickly deployed his troops into a battle line, and the Union cavalry charged into the Confederate ranks. The Confederates were caught off guard and initially fell back, but they soon regrouped and launched a counterattack.
The battle continued for several hours, with both sides maneuvering for position and launching charges. However, the Confederate cavalry was ultimately forced to withdraw. The Union cavalry captured several Confederate prisoners and destroyed a portion of the Confederate wagon train.
The Battle of Bloomfield was a relatively small engagement compared to many of the other battles fought during the Civil War, but it was significant in that it demonstrated the ongoing conflict in Virginia and the continued importance of cavalry in the war effort. It also showed that the Union cavalry was able to respond quickly and effectively to Confederate incursions and disrupt their supply lines, a key part of Sheridan’s overall strategy in the Valley Campaigns.
In the aftermath of the battle, Merritt’s cavalry division continued to push south and disrupt Confederate supply lines. Lomax’s division, meanwhile, retreated to the west and joined with other Confederate forces to defend against further Union advances. The Battle of Bloomfield may have been a small skirmish, but it was one small piece of the larger puzzle that ultimately led to the Union victory in the Civil War.