Catlett

Catlett is in Fauquier County, Virginia. It is located west of the Prince William County line. Catlett was formerly a rail stop on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, and the area was the site of many raids on the railroad during the American Civil War.

Thanks to the creation of a railroad system that was essential to travel and supply in Virginia, many small towns including Catlett sprung up as stops. During its heyday, Catlett was a busy telegraph outpost and mail stop along the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. The land that the town was built on had originally been granted to John Catlett in 1715, but was not named for him at first. The post office and town were first known as Colvin's Station after the Colvin family, but over the years this was changed to Catlett Station and then to simply Catlett.

Catlett was the site of a pivotal skirmish in the Civil War between Major General J. E. B. Stuart of the Confederacy and the Union's Major General John Pope. The Confederates raided the Union camp at Catlett on August 22, 1862, in an effort to disrupt the Union's rail supply lines. Stuart and his men began their attack during what Stuart referred to as the "darkest night I ever knew". He and his men rode into town and using sabers and fire were able to destroy the Federal encampment, cut telephone wires, obtain wagons-full of supplies and capture almost 300 Union troops, but were unable to destroy the railroad bridge on the outskirts of the town. A heavy thunderstorm prevented them from burning it, so they attempted to use axes, but were turned away by Union riflemen. The most important prize that the Confederates gained were General Pope's orders, which contained critical information about the Union campaign. These orders were taken by Stuart to General Robert E. Lee and played a pivotal role in securing the South's victory in the Battle of Second Manassas.

Later in the war, Colonel John S. Mosby conducted a raid with his cavalry unit in an attempt to disable an engine on the same rail line that Stuart had attacked in August 1862. This skirmish on May 20, 1863, went in favor of the superior numbers of the Union troops. Mosby's unit retreated after disabling the engine with a Howitzer cannon that they had captured the previous day. The Confederate troops took 5 fatalities, 20 injuries, and 10 men captured by the Federals.

*Source Wikipedia*

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