BATTLE OF BRANDY STATION JUNE 9, 1863
The victorious Confederate Army of Northern Virginia streamed into Culpeper County after its victory at Fredericksburg. Under the leadership of General Robert E. Lee, the troops seemed invincible and massed around Culpeper preparing to carry the war north into Pennsylvania. These half-starved men had defeated armies twice
their size at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, but the constant enemies of hunger and poor equipment were showing their effects. Lee was determined to strike north to capture horses, equipment, and food for his men.
By June 5, two infantry corps under CSA General Longstreet and Ewell were camped in and around Culpeper. Six miles north of town, holding the line of the Rappahannock River, General J.E.B. Stuart bivouacked his cavalry troopers, screening the Confederate Army against surprise by the
Most of the Southern cavalry was camped near Brandy Station. Stuart, the "dashing cavalier", requested a full field review of his troops by General Lee. His request granted, on June 8 nearly 9,000 mounted troopers passed Lee's reviewing stand, first at a walk, then in full gallop as sabers glistened in the sun and 22 batteries of horse artillery roared in simulated battle. Today this review
field remains much as it was in 1863, except that the Virginia Police Station occupies part of it.
A dense fog hung over the Rappahannock on the morning of June 9. Unknown to the Confederates, 10,000 Union horsemen had massed their forces on the other side. Misinterpreting the screening action of Stuart's cavalry, Union General Pleasanton thought he was attacking a rebel raiding party of unknown strength. Pleasanton's attack plan called for a two-prong thrust at the enemy. One half of his
men would cross the river at Beverly's Ford, two miles below Brandy Station, and the other half would cross at Kelly's Ford, four miles downstream. Caught in these pincers, the Southern cavalry would be surprised, outnumbered, and beaten.
Early in the morning, Stuart heard ragged gunfire from the river. Soon his troopers reached his Fleetwood Heights headquarters with the news that Union cavalrymen had forced a crossing at Beverly's Ford and charged up the narrow road toward St. James Church and Gee House Hill. Just as Stuart heard that the enemy had been checked at St. James, he received the startling news that Union troops
were riding in on his rear. The vanguard, then visible, was approaching Fleetwood from the Stevensburg Road, having crossed at Kelly's Ford and reached Stevensburg via La Grange.
One lone artillery piece was left atop Fleetwood Hill, and only a token force to guard Stuart's headquarters. As this single gun fired the few shells available, the Union horsemen halted their advance. Racing against time, Confederate cavalry rushed back from the St. James battle line to meet this new threat.
Never before had the Union cavalry shown such strength and skill in combat. Stuart's headquarters was overrun, and the rear lines at St. James were threatened.
Help arrived as Gen. W.H.F. (Rooney) Lee's cavalry rode in from Little Fork Church (seven miles from Brandy) and saved the day for Stuart. After 12 hours of raging battle, Union troops retreated to the north side of the river.
Some 19,000 mounted men were engaged in this, the greatest cavalry battle ever to take place in the western hemisphere. For the first time in the Civil War, Union cavalry matched the Confederate horsemen in skill and determination.
Cavalryman of the Lost Cause
A Biography of J. E. B. Stuart James Ewell Brown
Stuart was the premier cavalry commander of the Confederacy. He gained a reputation for daring early in the war when he rode around the Union army in the Peninsula Campaign, providing valuable intelligence to General Robert E. Lee at the expense of Union commander George B. McClellan
From Manassas to Appomattox
Longstreet According to some, he was partially to blame for the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg; according to others, if Lee had followed Longstreet's advice, they would have won that battle. He has been called stubborn and vain; and he has been lauded as one of the greatest tacticians of the Civil War
Officers and a woman at the Virginia headquarters of the First Brigade in Brandy Station, Virginia, 1864
Brandy Station Scouts Standing, left to right: James Doughty, James Cammack?, unknown, Henry W. Dodd, unknown,
Seated: John Irving, Lt. Robert Klein, 3d Indiana Cavalry, Dan Cole. On ground: Dan Plue, Lt. Klein's son,
W. J. Lee , unknown, [ ] Wood, Sanford Magee, John W. Langdon
Brandy Station Horse Artillery
Headquarters of Sanitary Commission, Brandy Station, Virginia,
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Lee The Last Years
After his surrender at Appomattox, Robert E. Lee lived only another five
years - the forgotten chapter of an extraordinary life. These were his finest hours, when he did more than any other American to heal the wounds between North and South
This book not only offers concise detail but also gives terrific insight into the state of the Union and Confederacy during Lee's life. Lee was truly a one of kind gentleman and American, and had Virginia not been in the south or neutral, he ultimately would have led the Union forces.
Four Years With General Lee
Walter Taylor was staff officer to General Robert E.
Lee. His book first appeared in 1877. For many years a standard authority on Confederate history, it is the source for dozens of incidents that have now become a part of every biography of Lee.
The Union Generals Speak: The Meade Hearings on the Battle of Gettysburg
The first annotated edition of the 1864 congressional investigation into Major General George Gordon Meade's conduct during the Gettysburg campaign. The transcripts alone, which present eyewitness accounts from sixteen participant officers at Gettysburg, offer a wealth of information about the most pivotal battles in American history
George Gordon Meade and the War in the East
To most students of the Civil War,
he is merely the man who was lucky enough to benefit from Confederate mistakes at Gettysburg, but whose shortcomings as a commander compelled Abraham Lincoln to bring in Ulysses S. Grant from the West to achieve victory
Meade: Victor At Gettysburg
Meade took command only hours before his forces stumbled upon Robert E. Lee's Confederates at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania,
in 1863. He led his men to victory in one of the most famous battles in history, but Meade was soon embroiled in political battles with fellow generals and Washington politicians
I Rode With Jeb Stuart: The Life And Campaigns Of Major General J. E. B. Stuart
early as First Manassas (Bull Run) he was contributing significantly to the Confederate victory; he subsequently displayed his daring and brilliance in the battles of Second Manassas, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Brandy Station the most significant cavalry battle of the war, and Stuart's finest moment. General Lee depended on Stuart for knowledge of the enemy
Jeb Stuart and the Confederate Defeat at Gettysburg
Warren C. Robinson
reassesses the historical record to come to a clearer view of Stuart's orders for the crucial battle (as well as what was expected of him), of his actual performance, and of the impact his late arrival had on the outcome of the campaign.
Cavalryman of the Lost Cause
Biography of J. E. B. Stuart
James Ewell Brown Stuart was the premier cavalry commander of the Confederacy. He gained a reputation for daring early in the war when he rode around the Union army in the Peninsula Campaign, providing valuable intelligence to General Robert E. Lee at the expense of Union commander George B. McClellan
Horses of Gettysburg
Civil War Minutes
Filmed in high definition with charging horses, battlefield panoramas and no "talking heads," this cinematic documentary tells the story of the estimated 72,000 horses and mules that fought at the Battle of Gettysburg and uncovers the strategies employed to ensure that the millions of animals in service with the North and South remained healthy and well-trained for action.
Gettysburg / Gods and Generals
The tide of the war changes during three fierce
days of combat at Gettysburg [Disc 1] the gripping saga of the tactics command errors and sacrifices behind the bloodiest battle ever fought on U.S. soil. Gods and Generals [Disc 2] reveals the spirited allegiances and fierce combat of earlier Civil War struggles
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