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It was just 160 years ago today, June 17, 1861, when Confederate forces ambushed a train load of Union soldiers heading from Alexandria to Vienna, Virginia. Fighting a battle is one thing, getting there to fight the battle is another thing entirely. The railroad that ran from Alexandria to Vienna, was vital, as it was right on what would be the front lines, and was right outside Washington D.C.
On this date, the 1st Ohio Regiment was being transported by rail from Alexandria to Vienna to bolster the Yankee defenses. However, as the train neared Vienna, it passed through some hill country with thick woods. The Rebels attacked, firing two shots from cannons concealed in the woods. Then all hell broke loose, as firing from the woods by Confederate cavalry, and return fire from the Union troops taking cover behind the train or in the woods, caused a thick cloud of smoke which only added to the chaos. However, the Union officers managed to get the train out of danger, and get the soldiers organized and formed an orderly retreat. The Confederates, fearing that they would soon be outnumbered, also retreated. In the end, eight Union soldiers were killed, and four were wounded, the Rebel casualties are unknown. 160 years ago today, the war got a little hotter as gun smoke filled the air.