Spotsylvania Court House | Todd's Tavern | May 7, 1864
While Union and Confederate infantry were engaged in a death struggle in the Wilderness, cavalry units were vying for control of the Brock Road, the inside track to the Confederate capital. Nestled halfway between the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Courthouse along the Brock Road stood Todd’s Tavern, a one-and-a-half-story inn that played host to both Union and Confederate forces only a week apart. (The tavern was destroyed in 1884.)
On the night of May 7, 1864, Union Generals Ulysses S. Grant and George G. Meade rode south along Spotsylvania’s Brock Road, skirting the Todd’s Tavern tract and stopped briefly at the tavern. It is here that Union General Philip “Little Phil” Sheridan and Confederate General Fitzhugh “Fitz” Lee waged one of the most intense and important cavalry battles of the Overland Campaign, where both sides gained and lost valuable advantages and positions. Ultimately, Union forces were slowed by Confederate troopers from advancing onward to Spotsylvania. The delaying action at Todd’s Tavern purchased valuable time for Lee’s army in the race to Spotsylvania Courthouse.
A week later, on May 14, Confederate General Thomas Rosser’s cavalry brigade spent the night at Todd’s Tavern. The next day, Rosser marched east and engaged the 2nd Ohio Cavalry and 23rd Regiment, United States Colored Troops, in a skirmish southeast of Chancellorsville.