The group waved torches and chanted “Jews will not replace us” and “white lives matter” as they marched through the Charlottesville university.
A larger “United the Right” rally is planned in the city on Saturday.
Protest organiser Jason Kessler, who has previously accused the town of “anti-white hatred”, described the event as an “incredible moment for white people who’ve had it up to here and aren’t going to take it anymore”.
The rally was met by a smaller group of counter protesters who had surrounded the university’s status of Thomas Jefferson, holding a banner that read “VA Students Act Against White Supremacy”.
He wrote on Facebook: “Everyone has a right under the First Amendment to express their opinion peaceably, so here’s mine: not only as the Mayor of Charlottesville, but as a UVA [University of Virginia] faculty member and alumnus, I am beyond disgusted by this unsanctioned and despicable display of visual intimidation on a college campus.”
However, the town has become a focal point for white nationalists after the city council voted to remove a status of General Lee.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organisation, says that “Trump’s run for office electrified the radical right, which saw in him a champion of the idea that America is fundamentally a white man’s country.”