On Sunday, February 28, 1864 a Union force of approximately 3500 cavalry under General Judson Kilpatrick left the Rapidan River, intent on raiding Richmond, Virginia and releasing Federal prisoners.
As a diversionary tactic, General George Armstrong Custer began a raid into Albemarle County, Virginia which would last for some four days. On the 29th Kilpatrick would split his command, assigning 500 cavalry to Colonel Ulric Dahlgren while the bulk of his command would stay with him.
By the evening of that same day Confederate authorities in Richmond learned of the impending raid and began to take steps to resist. Kilpatrick’s raid was doomed to failure despite penetrating to within approximately two miles of Richmond. Two days of skirmishing with Confederate forces had given Richmond time to defend itself against Kilpatrick’s raid.