Confederate fighter A.P. Hill abruptly encountered two columns of Union soldiers at Bristoe Station, Va., and attacked, 150 years ago this week in the Civil War. The Associated Press, in a dispatch Oct. 11, 1863, cited Union forces as saying they had suspected Hill and his corps was lurking in an area near the Blue Ridge mountains. And indeed it was so.
When fighting erupted at Bristoe Station on Oct. 14, 1863, Union soldiers quickly took defensive positions behind an embankment of Virginia's Orange & Alexandria railroad. Despite the pounding they received, the Union columns successfully fended off Hill's assault before withdrawing once fighting ended toward Centreville, Va. Hill also retreated, tearing up a section of the railroad regularly used by Union forces.
But Hill's defeat at Bristoe Station left a black spot on his reputation and angered Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Meanwhile, AP reported that about 900 new conscripts were traveling this week from New York and Vermont for training in the Washington area to bolster Union forces depleted by heavy fighting at Gettysburg and elsewhere in 1863.