The evening before a scheduled rally of thousands of white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va., marchers carrying torches clashed with counter-protesters on the University of Virginia campus.
"I am beyond disgusted by this unsanctioned and despicable display of visual intimidation on a college campus," Mayor Mike Singer said in a statement.
At least one person was arrested and several on campus were treated for minor injuries, the Daily Progress newspaper said.
Also, in Charlottesville Friday evening, Dr. Cornel West, Rev. Traci Blackmon, and other faith leaders led an interfaith prayer service as the group prepared to march in counter-protest on Saturday.
The "Unite the Right" rally was organized to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a public park.
The National Guard is on standby, with Virginia State Police coordinating security in the city of 45,000, the governor said in a statement.
Reuters reporting contributed to this story.