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The Largest Cavalry Battle in North America: The Battle Of Brandy Station

Cav Fight at Brandy Station

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Today I continue my rest so I can read and relax. take a look back at the battle of Brandy Station, the largest cavalry battle every fought on the North American continent. This is a section of my draft Gettysburg campaign text.

Have a great day,

Peace

Padre Steve+

Movement to attain operational reach and maneuver are two critical factors in joint operations. In the time since the American Civil War the distances that forces move to engage the enemy, or maneuver to employ fires to destroy his forces have greatly increased. Movement may be part of an existing Campaign Plan or Contingency Plan developed at Phase 0; it also may be part of a crisis action plan developed in the midst of a campaign. Lee’s movement to get to Gettysburg serves as an example of the former, however, since his forces were already in contact with the Army of the Potomac along the Rappahannock and he was reacting to what he felt was a strategic situation that could not be changed but by going on the offensive that it has the feel of a Crisis Action Plan. Within either context other factors come into play: clarity of communications and orders, security, intelligence, logistics and even more importantly the connection between operational movement and maneuver; the Center of Gravity of the enemy, and national strategy. Since we have already discussed how Lee and the national command authority of the Confederacy got to this point we will now discuss the how that decision played in the operational and tactical decisions of Lee and his commanders as the Army of Northern Virginia began the summer campaign and the corresponding actions of Joseph Hooker and the his superiors in Washington.

“One of the fine arts of the military craft is disengaging one’s army from a guarding army without striking sparks and igniting battle.” [1] On June 3rd 1863 Robert E. Lee began to move his units west, away from Fredericksburg to begin his campaign to take the war to the North. He began his exfiltration moving Second Corps under Richard Ewell and First Corps under James Longstreet west “up the south bank of the Rappahannock to Culpepper, near which Hood and Pickett had been halted on their return from Suffolk.” [2]Rodes’ division of Second Corps followed on June 4th with Anderson and Early on June 5th. Lee left the three divisions of A.P. Hill’s Third Corps at Fredericksburg to guard against any sudden advance by Hooker’s Army of the Potomac toward Richmond. Lee instructed Hill to “do everything possible “to deceive the enemy, and keep him in ignorance of any change in the disposition of the army.” [3]

The army was tremendously confident as it marched away from the war ravaged, dreary and desolate battlefields along the Rappahannock “A Captain in the 1st Virginia averred, “Never before has the army been in such a fine condition, so well disciplined and under such complete control.” [4]Porter Alexander wrote that he felt “pride and confidence…in my splendid battalion, as it filed out of the field into the road, with every chest & and ammunition wagon filled, & and every horse in fair order, & every detail fit for a campaign.” [5] Another officer wrote to his father, “I believe there is a general feeling of gratification in the army at the prospect of active operations.” [6]

Lee’s plan was to “shift two-thirds of his army to the northwest and past Hooker’s flank, while A.P. Hill’s Third Corps remained entrenched at Fredericksburg to observe Hooker and perhaps fix him in place long enough for the army to gain several marches on the Federals.” [7] In an organizational and operational sense that Lee’s army after as major of battle as Chancellorsville “was able to embark on such an ambitious flanking march to the west and north around the right of the army of the Potomac….” [8]

However, Lee’s movement did not go unnoticed; Hooker’s aerial observers in their hot air balloons “were up and apparently spotted the movement.” [9] But Hooker was unsure what it meant. He initially suspected that “Lee intended to turn the right flank of the Union army as he had done in the Second Bull Run Campaign, either by interposing his army between Washington and the Federals or by crossing the Potomac River.” [10] Lee halted at Culpepper from which he “could either march westward over the Blue Ridge or, if Hooker moved, recontract at the Rappahannock River.” [11]

Hooker telegraphed Lincoln and Halleck on June 5th and requested permission to advance cross the river and told Lincoln that “I am of opinion that it is my duty to pitch into his rear” [12]possibly threatening Richmond. Lincoln ordered Hooker to put the matter to Halleck, with whom Hooker was on the worst possible terms. Hooker “pressed Halleck to allow him to cross the Rappahannock in force, overwhelming whatever rebel force had been left at Fredericksburg, and then lunging down the line of the Virginia Central toward an almost undefended Richmond.” [13] On the morning of June 6th Hooker ordered pontoon bridges thrown across the river and sent a division of Sedgwick’s VI Corps to conduct a reconnaissance in force against Hill.

Lincoln and Halleck immediately rejected Hooker’s request. Lincoln “saw the flaw in Hooker’s plan at once” [14] and replied in a very blunt manner: “In one word,” he wrote “I would not take any risk of being entangled upon the river, like an ox jumped half over a fence and liable to be torn by dogs front and rear, without a fair chance to gore one way or kick another.” [15] Halleck replied to Hooker shortly after Lincoln that it would “seem perilous to permit Lee’s main force to move upon the Potomac [River] while your army is attacking an intrenched position on the other side of the Rappahannock.” [16] Lincoln, demonstrating a keen regard for the actual center of gravity of the campaign, told Hooker plainly that “I think Lee’s army and not Richmond, is your objective point.” [17]

The fears of Lincoln and Halleck were well founded. In stopping at Culpepper Lee retained the option of continuing his march to the Shenandoah and the Potomac, or he could rapidly “recall his advanced columns, hammer at Hooker’s right flank, and very possibly administer another defeat even more demoralizing than the one he suffered at Chancellorsville.” [18] Hooker heeded the order and while Hooker maintained his bridgehead over the Rappahannock he made no further move against Hill’s well dug in divisions.

Meanwhile, J.E.B. Stuart and his Cavalry Corps had been at Brandy Station near Culpepper for two weeks. Culpepper in June was a paradise for the cavalry, and with nearly 10,000 troopers gathered Stuart ordered a celebration, many dignitaries were invited and on June 4th Stuart hosted a grand ball in the county courthouse. On the 5th Stuart staged a grand review of five of his brigades. Bands played as each regiment passed in review and one soldier wrote that it was “One grand magnificent pageant, inspiring enough to make even an old woman feel fightish.” [19] The review ended with a mock charge by the cavalry against the guns of the horse artillery which were firing blank rounds. According to witnesses it was a spectacular event, so realistic and grand that during the final charge that “several ladies fainted, or pretended to faint, in the grandstand which Jeb Stuart had had set up for them along one side of the field.” [20]That was followed by an outdoor ball “lit by soft moonlight and bright bonfires.” [21] Stuart gave an encore performance when Lee arrived on June 8th, minus the grand finale and afterward Lee wrote to his wife that “Stuart was in all his glory.” [22]

Hooker received word from the always vigilant John Buford, of the First Cavalry Division on the night of June 6th that “Lee’s “movable column” was located near Culpepper Court House and that it consisted of Stuart’s three brigades heavily reinforced by Robertson’s, “Grumble” Jones’s, and Jenkins’ brigades.” [23] Hooker digested the information and believed that Stuart’s intent was to raid his own rear areas to disrupt the Army of the Potomac’s logistics and communications. The next day Hooker ordered his newly appointed Cavalry Corps Commander, Major General Alfred Pleasanton to attack Stuart.

After Chancellorsville, Hooker had reorganized the Union cavalry under Pleasanton into three divisions and under three aggressive division commanders, all West Pointers, Brigadier General John Buford, Brigadier General David Gregg and Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick. While Stuart conducted his second grand review for Lee Pleasanton quietly massed his cavalry “opposite Beverly Ford and Kelly’s Ford so as to cross the river in the early morning hours of June 9th and carry out Hooker’s crisp orders “to disperse and destroy” the rebel cavalry reported to be “assembled in the vicinity of Culpepper….”[24] Pleasanton’s cavalry was joined by two mixed brigades of infantry “who had the reputation of being among the best marchers and fighters in the army.” [25] One brigade, commanded by Brigadier General Adelbert Ames consisted of five regiments drawn from XI Corps, XII Corps, and III Corps was attached to Buford’s division. The other brigade, under the command of Brigadier General David Russell was composed of seven regiments drawn from I Corps, II Corps and VI Corps. [26]

Stuart’s orders for June 9th were to “lead his cavalry division across the Rappahannock to screen the northward march of the infantry.” [27] The last thing that Stuart expected was to be surprised by the Federal cavalry which he had grown to treat with distain. Stuart who was at his headquarters “woke to the sound of fighting” [28] as Pleasanton’s divisions crossed the river and moved against the unsuspecting Confederate cavalry brigades.

The resultant action was the largest cavalry engagement of the war. Over 20,000 troopers engaged in an inconclusive see-saw battle that lasted most of the day. Though a draw “the rebels might have been swept from the field had Colonel Alfred N. Duffie, at the head of the Second Division acted aggressively and moved to the sounds of battle.” [29] The “Yankees came with a newfound grit and gave as good as they took.” [30]Porter Alexander wrote that Pleasanton’s troopers “but for bad luck in the killing of Col. Davis, leading the advance, would have probably surprised and captured most of Stuart’s artillery.” [31]Stuart had lost “over 500 men, including two colonels dead,” [32] and a brigade commander, Fitzhugh “Rooney” Lee, General Lee’s son, badly wounded. While recuperating at his wife’s home a few weeks later Lee “was captured by the enemy.” [33]Stuart claimed victory as he lost fewer troops and had taken close to 500 prisoners and maintained control of the battlefield.

But even Confederate officers were critical. Lafayette McLaws of First Corps wrote “our cavalry were surprised yesterday by the enemy and had to do some desperate fighting to retrieve the day… As you will perceive from General Lee’s dispatch that the enemy were driven across the river again. All this is not true because the enemy retired at their leisure, having accomplished what I suppose what they intended.” [34] Captain Charles Blackford of Longtreet’s staff wrote: “The fight at Brandy Station can hardly be called a victory. Stuart was certainly surprised, but for the supreme gallantry of his subordinate officers and men… it would have been a day of disaster and disgrace….” The Chief of the Bureau of War in Richmond, Robert H.G. Kean wrote “Stuart is so conceited that he got careless- his officers were having a frolic…” [35] Brigadier General Wade Hampton had the never to criticize his chief in his after action report and after the war recalled “Stuart managed badly that day, but I would not say so publicly.” [36]

The Confederate press was even more damning in its criticism of Stuart papers called it “a disastrous fight,” a “needless slaughter,” [37]and the Richmond Examiner scolded Stuart in words that cut deeply into Stuart’s pride and vanity:

The more the circumstances of the late affair at Brandy Station are considered, the less pleasant do they appear. If this was an isolated case, it might be excused under the convenient head of accident or chance. But the puffed up cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia has twice, if not three times, surprised since the battles of December, and such repeated accidents can be regarded as nothing but the necessary consequences of negligence and bad management. If the war was a tournament, invented and supported for the pleasure of a few vain and weak-headed officers, these disasters might be dismissed with compassion, But the country pays dearly for the blunders which encourage the enemy to overrun and devastate the land, with a cavalry which is daily learning to despise the mounted troops of the Confederacy…” [38]

But the battle was more significant than the number of casualties inflicted or who controlled the battlefield at the end of the day. Stuart had been surprised by an aggressively led Union Cavalry force. The Union troopers fought a stubborn and fierce battle and retired in good order. Stuart did not appreciate it but the battle was a watershed, it ended the previous dominance of the Confederate Cavalry arm. It was something that in less than a years’ time would cost him his life.

Notes 

[1] Sears, Stephen W. Gettysburg, Mariner Books, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston and New York, 2003 p.59

[2] Foote, Shelby, The Civil War, A Narrative. Volume Two Fredericksburg to Meridian Random House, New York 1963 p.436

[3] Trudeau, Noah Andre. Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage, Harper Collins Publishers, New York 2002 p.25

[4] Wert, Jeffry D. A Glorious Army: Robert E. Lee’s Triumph 1862-1863 Simon and Schuster, New York and London 2011 p.218

[5] Alexander, Edward Porter. Fighting for the Confederacy: The Personal Recollections of General Edward Porter Alexander edited by Gary Gallagher University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill 1989 p.221

[6] Ibid. Wert A Glorious Army p.219

[7] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.60

[8] Korda, Michael. Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee Harper Collins Publishers, New York 2014 p.530

[9] Ibid. Foote The Civil War, A Narrative. Volume Two p.436

[10] Wert, Jeffry D. The Sword of Lincoln: The Army of the Potomac Simon and Schuster, New York and London 2005 p.260

[11] Dowdy, Clifford. Lee and His Men at Gettysburg: The Death of a Nation Skyhorse Publishing, New York 1986, originally published as Death of a Nation Knopf, New York 1958 p.37

[12] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.61

[13] Guelzo, Allen C. Gettysburg: The Last Invasion Vintage Books a Division of Random House, New York 2013 p.50

[14] Ibid. Wert The Sword of Lincoln p.260

[15] Fuller, J.F.C. Decisive Battles of the U.S.A. 1776-1918 University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln 2007 copyright 1942 The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals p.223

[16] Ibid Trudeau Gettysburg a Testing of Courage p.26

[17] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.50

[18] Coddington, Edwin B. The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command, A Touchstone Book, Simon and Schuster New York, 1968 p.53

[19] Davis, Burke J.E.B. Stuart: The Last Cavalier Random House, New York 1957 p.304

[20] Ibid. Foote The Civil War, A Narrative. Volume Two p.437

[21] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.63

[22] Ibid. Wert A Glorious Army p.221

[23] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.54

[24] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.64

[25] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.54

[26] Petruzzi, J. David and Stanley, Steven The Gettysburg Campaign in Numbers and Losses: Synopses, Orders of Battle, Strengths, Casualties and Maps, June 9 – July 1, 1863 Savas Beatie LLC, El Dorado Hills CA 2012 p.7

[27] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.64

[28] Ibid. Davis JEB Stuart p.306

[29] Ibid. Wert The Sword of Lincoln p.261

[30] Wert, Jeffry D. General James Longstreet The Confederacy’s Most Controversial Soldier, A Touchstone Book, Simon and Schuster, New York and London 1993 p. 251

[31] Ibid. Alexander Fighting for the Confederacy p.223

[32] Ibid. Davis JEB Stuart p.310

[33] Ibid. Wert A Glorious Army p.221

[34] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.59

[35] Ibid. Davis JEB Stuart p.310

[36] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.60

[37] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.57

[38] Ibid. Davis JEB Stuart p.311-312

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Vanity Seeking a Legacy: JEB Stuart at Gettysburg

Friends of Padre Steve’s World

Back to my work on the Gettysburg text. I have done a lot of edits and work on this chapter. There is a little bit more to do including an edit from my wife Judy before it goes into the text and I start working on the edits for the next chapter. 

Anyway, yet another crazy weather day in Hampton Roads. Yesterday 73 degrees, today rain with sleet and snow later with temperatures tomorrow barely above freezing. I can’t wait for real spring, and by the way I’m issuing a Fat Wahhh on the Groundhog. Not a Fatwah, but a Fat Wahhh, because I’m short stocky and whining. 

Peace

Padre Steve+

While the embattled Hooker slowly pursued Lee with the Army of the Potomac another drama of major significance was unfolding. The developing drama was of Robert E. Lee’s own making and it was beginning to engulf his army’s operations as leave him blind to the intents and movements of the Federal Army, and it is related to the concept of Commander’s Intent.

The concept “Commander’s Intent” is actually quite old and something that even not using today’s terminology that the commanders of the Civil War, especially those educated at West Point would have understood.

While the older understanding enunciated by Frederick the Great, Napoleon, Jomini, Clausewitz and Dennis Hart Mahan would be couched in different language the concept itself was similar. The modern understanding of the concept is found in numerous doctrinal publications of the U.S. Military and the most concise definition in found in Joint Publication 3-0:

“A clear and concise expression of the purpose of the operation and the desired military end state that supports mission command, provides focus to the staff, and helps subordinate and supporting commanders act to achieve the commander’s desired results without further orders, even when the operation does not unfold as planned” [1]

The drama engulfing Lee’s headquarters was the first of a number of operational mistakes committed by Lee, and dealt with his singular inability to get his commanders to understand his intent. The necessity of subordinate commanders understanding the intent of their superior is essential to the success of any military operation. During the Gettysburg campaign, Robert E. Lee failed miserably at this.

The first instance of this lack of clarity and vagueness in regard to Lee’s orders to his subordinates involved Major General J.E.B. Stuart, who commanded Lee’s cavalry division and the results of this would help doom Lee’s campaign in Pennsylvania.

Lee and Stuart

To understand how this happened we need to start with the character of J.E.B. Stuart and his relationship with Robert E. Lee. Without understanding these men it is impossible for us to understand how such a disastrous series of events and miscommunications could occur in an army which was so used to victory.

Before Brandy Station J.E.B. Stuart was at pinnacle of his fame and celebrity. Only thirty-two years old Stuart had gained an amount of fame, and the romantic aura of a chivalrous, bold and daring commander, something akin the gallant knights of an early era. One of his biographers, Burke Davis, whose work about Stuart is at times closer to hagiography than to history called Stuart “The Last Cavalier.” 

If People magazine had been published in 1863, Stuart would have certainly made the cover.

One of Stuart’s officers wrote after the war “There were few men produced by the war whose character was so mixed with gold and dross as Stuart… He could be “brave as his sword,” but “frivolous to the point of ridicule.” [2] Though faithfully married he was a flirt who women swooned over when they met him. “He possessed a zest for life and a flamboyance of style that made him the embodiment of a knight errant, a cavalier warrior from an evocative past.” [3] This is not to say that Stuart was not a gifted offer, leader or commander. Even before the war he was regarded as “a young officer of great promise, a natural horseman with a reputation for dash and bravery gained in countless clashes with Indians throughout the West, and for steady competence in the pro- and antislavery warfare of Kansas.” [4]

In the early part of the war he proved to be a dependable cavalry officer who supplied Stonewall Jackson, James Longstreet, Joseph Johnston and Robert E. Lee with reliable information regarding the composition, movements and intention of their opponents, and who in battle usually bested his Federal opponents.

However, it was his ride around McClellan during the Seven Days that established Stuart as a Confederate hero.

There had been little good news for Confederates during the previous months, but “there was an air of romantic adventure to Stuart’s exploit which touched every Southerner who read it.” [5] Newspapers published accounts which lauded Stuart’s exploit. The Richmond Examiner called it “one of the most brilliant affairs of the war, bold in its inception and the most brilliant in its execution.” [6] A correspondent from the Charleston Mercury wrote “It is a question of whether the annals of warfare furnish so daring a deed.” [7] The result of the ride was fame for Stuart and a new respect for the Confederate cavalry within the Army of Northern Virginia. “Stuart had become the hero of his troopers and one of the idols of the public.” [8]

The fact that Stuart succeeded in large part due to the inability of the Federal Cavalry commander, General Phillip St. George Cooke, Stuart’s father-in-law, to grasp what was happening or respond in an effectual manner did not dim the luster of the accomplishment. One of Stuart’s officers wrote that the newspapers “were filled with accounts of the expedition, none accurate, and most of them marvelous.” [9] The success and adulation that Stuart received in the Confederate press only cemented in Stuart’s mind that such raids would garner him fame and advance his career.

Stuart was not only adept at using the media to advance himself, but he also used his relationships and cultivated those in power to get ahead. He was a friend of the Lee’s before the war, and Robert E. Lee treated Stuart as if he were a son. He had the good fortune to staying with the Lee’s at Arlington and be at the War Department when John Brown seized Harper’s Ferry, where he had won Lee’s admiration. When Joseph Johnston commanded the army Stuart ingratiated himself to him and used flattery to gain favor saying “Johnston is in capacity head and shoulders above every general in the Southern Confederacy.” [10] At the same time he wrote about Lee’s lack of success in Western Virginia “With profound personal regard for General Lee, he has disappointed me as a General.” [11]

When Johnston was wounded Lee was appointed to command the army and Stuart quickly reconnected with Lee and following the success of his ride around McClellan’s army became Lee’s favorite cavalryman. Following the Seven Days battles when the Cavalry was expanded Lee nominated Stuart to command the division and ensured his promotion to Major General. Stuart responded in kind by recommending Lee’s nephew, Fitzhugh Lee to command a brigade in the division. As the division grew Stuart, knowing Lee’s preference for Virginians in the senior ranks of army leadership appointed “Virginians to command four of his division’s five brigades.” [12] These included Fitzhugh Lee as well as Lee’s son Rooney.

Following the Battle of Antietam Stuart made another spectacular ride around McClellan in Maryland and Pennsylvania, an escapade which helped Lincoln in his decision to relieve that ineffective army commander. Apart from the effect on Northern morale the raid accomplished little of military value, including not achieving its primary objective, the destruction of the B & O railway bridge across the Conococheague River. Porter Alexander wrote that “the raid risked a great deal in proportion to the results it accomplished. It might have easily happened easily happened that the whole command might have been captured.” [13]

At Chancellorsville, after Jackson was mortally wounded and A.P. Hill wounded he took command of Second Corps, and led it well enough that some thought that after Jackson’s death that he should be appointed to command the corps.

Despite his brilliance on the battlefield, Stuart had little capacity for self-reflection and was terribly insecure. “Like many people who rise rapidly from obscurity to prominence, Stuart was insecure in his success.” [14]  During a second raid at the end of the Seven Days his actions helped ensure the escape of the Federal Army, something that fellow commanders and staff officers noticed and which he would not admit. In this action, as well as others, Stuart was “known to take risks with his own life and the lives of his men, sometimes during ill-conceived operations of debatable strategic value.” [15]

Likewise Stuart regarded the Battle of Brandy Station as “the greatest triumph I ever had.” [16] Stuart could not understand how the media or fellow officers could see things differently than him. Brandy Station should have given Stuart ample evidence to reevaluate his performance, but he could not. Instead of working to improve his performance, he insisted “that a poor performance had been just perfect. He seemed more concerned with image than substance because he confused the two.” [17]

A Cavalier Seeks to Redeem His Legacy

After the surprise at Brandy Station Stuart, was unhappy. His pride had been wounded by all of the criticism heaped on him by the Confederate press and well as by politicians and officers of the Army of Northern Virginia. Stuart now found out what many others who have who sought the media spotlight; that the press can rapidly turn from being a friend and promoter, to being strident critic. He expressed his anger to his wife Flora in a number of letters. In one saying “The newspapers are false in every statement except as to the victory….The papers ought to apologize.” [18]

The temptation here would to assume that all that motivated Stuart was the desire to redeem himself, to make up for what happened at Brandy Station. This is at least partially true. However, there was something bigger, and that was Stuart’s need that the myth that he had created around himself, the persona he had taken on, was unsullied. Since the war began he had known nothing but success and celebrity. His unbridled success had not taught him how to deal with failure.

One of more recent biographers, Emory Thomas wrote that Stuart “feared failure perhaps more than anything else in life and certainly more than death. He dealt with failure not by dealing with it, by denying it.” [19] As such his actions are much more than seeking to make up for defeat, but an attempt to build a legacy.

The attacks in the newspapers which had previously fawned over his exploits certainly wounded Stuart. But not all papers had completely lost faith in Stuart, nor doubted that he would redeem himself against the hated Yankee cavalry. The Richmond Whig “concluded an editorial defense of the Beau Sabreur, “We shall be surprised if the gallant Stuart does not, before many days, make the enemy repent sorely the temerity that led them to undertake as bold and insulting feat [as the advance on Brandy]. [20]

The troopers of Stuart’s division screened the right flank of the army as it moved north. The mission of his brigades was to defend the gaps in the Blue Ridge, and to keep Pleasanton’s cavalry from interdicting the march, or discovering the location of Lee’s infantry corps. In this effort Stuart was successful, but not happy.

Between June 17th and June 21st Stuart’s troopers fought a series of engagements at Ashby’s Gap, Middleburg and Upperville. While Stuart’s troopers had held off Pleasanton the “running combats were taking a toll on the Southern mounted arm, however. Stuart had already suffered several hundred casualties defending gaps and passes.” [21] The Confederates also noted the improvements in the Federal cavalry during these battles. Captain William Blackford, who served as an engineer on Stuart’s staff noted:

“the improvement of enemy cavalry was enormous, mainly in the heavy fire from long range carbines, and horse artillery that was a match for Stuart’s own These cavalrymen fought as if they had been taken from infantry regiments, for they knew how to fight with horses left behind.” [22]

Unlike the rest of the army which was now marching into Pennsylvania and Maryland, Stuart’s Cavalry Division had little cause to rejoice. They had been surprised at Brandy Station and Stuart had been humiliated in the Southern press. “Stuart read, raged, and doubtlessly resolved that the Whig’s prediction should be fulfilled. First must come opportunity.” [23]

It would take nearly two weeks before Stuart got his chance as the Federal cavalry under Pleasanton gave him no opportunity to redeem himself during the clashes along the Blue Ridge.

While Pleasanton’s troopers never broke through Stuart’s screen, they had pressed him hard and this had a major effect on Stuart’s division, which was “really fought out during those two weeks from June 9 until the misty morning of June 22….Not only had Stuart’s cavalry been pressed on the defensive as never before, but also they had not been able to gain a spot of information about the enemy.” [24]

In effect, these actions had not only screened Lee’s army from Hooker, but what went unnoticed by Confederate commanders was that “this succession of fights screened the Army of the Potomac as well” leaving Stuart “somewhat in the dark as to the location and intent of the Federal infantry.” [25] This would have exceptionally dire consequences for Lee as Stuart was no longer supplying him with the thing he needed most, information on the location and intentions of the Army of the Potomac.

On the other hand the Federal cavalry, through its interrogations of prisoners and conversations with civilians had now learned that the “main body of the rebel infantry is in the Shenandoah Valley.” [26] Additionally at Ashby’s Gap, some of John Buford’s troopers had gotten past the Confederates and “peering into the valley beyond, they gazed upon a Confederate infantry encampment – tangible evidence at last of Lee’s progress toward Maryland and Pennsylvania.” [27]

Pleasanton’s troopers, under able commanders like John Buford had proved that the days of “easy Confederate cavalry triumphs were gone,” [28] and Stuart “smarting over the cuts to his ego, refused to read the portents.” [29]

The emotional state of Stuart in the wake of Brandy station had much to do with this condition, but where others, including his media critics could see the improvements in the Federal Cavalry arm, Stuart seemed to live with a fair amount of denial regarding the capabilities of his foe. Stuart still not believe that the Union Cavalry arm had reached a point in the war where they could take on his troopers and be successful, despite the mounting evidence.

Stuart had been fighting defensively the entire campaign beginning with the surprise at Brandy Station, but desperately wanted to go on the offensive. As his troops battled Pleasanton’s aggressive and well led troopers at Aldie, Middleburg and Upperville, Stuart formulated a plan to go on the offensive himself, which he submitted to Lee. Stuart reasoned now that “all the infantry were west of the Blue Ridge…that it would be possible to leave one or two brigades of cavalry to defend the gaps and with the remaining three to descend on the enemy and harass Hooker in any advance into Pennsylvania.” [30]

Conditional, Contradictory and Vague: Lee’s Order to Stuart

On the morning of the 22nd of June Stuart noticed that the Federal cavalry which had engaged him at Upperville the previous day was no longer present. This led Stuart to propose an operation to Lee. It was an operation that Stuart hoped would restore his glory, for he had to protect his legend at any cost, and he was extremely sensitive about what people thought, wrote and said about him. “he had cultivated his public image and in turn the poems, songs, and praise seemed to confirm his vision of himself. How could the newspapers and gossips be son wrong?” [31] As such when he found an opportunity he took it. In his after action report he said:

 

“I submitted to the commanding general the plan of leaving a brigade or so in my present front, passing through Hopewell or some other gap in the Bull Run Mountains, attain the enemy’s rear, passing between his main body and Washington, and cross into Md., joining our army north of the Potomac. The commanding general wrote authorizing this move, if I thought it practicable….” [32]

Lee’s reply via the order that Stuart received from Lee was the first of a series of vague, poorly written and contradictory orders by Lee that were to plague the campaign. It was an order that gave Stuart exactly what needed to embark on an expedition to regain his luster.

The order “offered his cavalry commander wide latitude to select his route in accord with circumstances.” [33] Lee’s order left “the decision to Stuart” [34] as to how he would execute it. It was also an order that gave Stuart the idea “that something better than the drudgery of a march along our flank might be open to him, and that one of General Stuart’s activity and gallantry should not be expected to fail to seek it.” [35]

It was an order that Stuart seized upon to regain his reputation.

Unlike Lee’s two new infantry corps commanders, Ewell and Hill, Stuart was very familiar with Robert E. Lee’s method of command, and Lee had “so much faith in Stuart’s judgment and ability to make the right moves that after indicating his wishes he gave him considerable latitude in carrying them out. His orders were more suggestions than commands….” [36] However well that may have worked for Lee in the past with Jackson and Stuart, at this time it failed Lee.

Lee’s orders to Stuart were conditional in nature, in other words they were operative as long as the conditions allowed. Since they were conditional orders, Lee needed to clearly address “the conditions upon which they are based.” [37] This Lee did not do and it was a critical oversight. His order to Stuart read:

 

“I judge the efforts of the enemy yesterday were to arrest our progress and ascertain our whereabouts. Perhaps he is satisfied. Do you know where he is and what he is doing? I fear he will steal a march on us and get across the Potomac before we are aware. If you find that he is moving northward and that two brigades can guard the Blue Ridge and take care of your rear, you can move with the other three into Maryland and take position on General Ewell’s right, place yourself in communication with him, guard his flank, keep him informed of the enemy’s movements and collect all the supplies you can….” [38]

Longstreet, who Stuart was cooperating with on the northward march, added his own comments to Lee’s instruction which even further clouded the order:
General Lee has enclosed this letter for you, to be forwarded to you, provided you can be spared from my front, and provided I think that you can move across the Potomac without disclosing our plans. He speaks of your leaving via the Hopewell Gap and passing by the rear of the enemy. If you can get through by that route I think that you will be less likely to indicate what our plans are than if you should be passing to our rear. I forward the letter of instructions with these suggestions. Please advise me of the condition of affairs before you leave, and order General Hampton, whom I suppose will leave here in command, to report to me at Millwood, either by letter or in person, as may be most agreeable to him.” [39] 

Stung by the criticism of his conduct of the Battle of Brandy Station in the Southern press and frustrated by Pleasanton’s constant thrusts Stuart, “who always interpreted cavalry orders to their outer limits” [40] did just that and interpreted them in a manner that appealed to his need to redeem his now tarnished reputation. Stuart believed that he would repeat his triumph of the previous year when he rode around the Army of the Potomac.

For Stuart this was a chance to regain the limelight and add to his luster. Stuart “summed up his interpretation of his orders when he said later: …it was deemed practicable to move entirely in the enemy’s rear, intercepting his communications with his base (Washington), and, inflicting damage upon his rear, to rejoin the army in Pennsylvania in time to participate in its actual conflicts.” [41]

Stuart was already planning his offensive which he believed would restore his glory. Days before Stuart had sent Major John Mosby with a small detachment of troopers to reconnoiter behind the Union lines. Mosby reported the location of all the infantry corps of the Army of the Potomac. Mosby reported to Stuart on June 23rd that the Federal corps of the Army of the Potomac were stationary and “were so widely separated…that a column of cavalry could easily get between them.” [42]

Mosby’s report painted a glowing picture of how an operation using the Hopewell Gap could create havoc in the Federal rear and cause panic in Washington as he could “severe communications between Hooker and Pleasanton, destroy a “large portion” of Hooker’s transportation, and take some of the pressure off Lee by creating a diversion for the Union cavalry.” [43]

The purported inactivity of the Federal army reported by Mosby was exactly the news Stuart wanted to hear, and he asked Lee for permission to plunge into the Federal rear. In his after action report Stuart wrote:

“I submitted to the commanding general the plan of leaving a brigade or so in my present front, and passing through Hopewell, or some other gap in Bull Run Mountain, attaining the enemy’s rear, and passing between his main body and Washington, to cross into Maryland and joining our army north of the Potomac.” [44]

Lee concurred and noted that “Upon the suggestion of the former officer (General Stuart) that he could damage the enemy and delay his passage of the river by getting to his rear, he was authorized to do so.” [45]

In his after action report of the campaign Lee wrote:

 

“General Stuart was left to guard the passes of the mountains and observe the movements of the enemy, whom he was instructed to impede and harass as much as possible, should he attempt to cross the Potomac. In that event, General Stuart was directed to move into Maryland, crossing the Potomac east or west of the Blue Ridge, as, in his judgment, should be best, and take position on the right of our column as it advanced.” [46]

That night, during a heavy rainstorm Stuart’s chief of staff Major McClellan received Lee’s reply, written by Colonel Charles Marshall, to his superior’s request which he immediately delivered to Stuart. It is this final order which forms the basis of the great controversy of Stuart’s actions during the campaign. Lee’s order stated:
“If General Hooker’s army remains inactive, you can leave two brigades to watch him, and withdraw with three others, but should he not appear to be moving northward, I think you had better withdraw this side of the mountains tomorrow night, cross as Shepherdstown next day, and move over to Frederickstown.

You will, however, be able to judge whether you can pass around their army without hindrance, doing them all the damage you can, and cross the river east of the mountains. In either case, after crossing the river, you must move on and feel the right of Ewell’s troops, collecting information, provisions, etc.” [47]

The order continued with a further paragraph which Stuart seems not to have fully conveyed to the commanders of the brigades being left behind to screen the army:

 

“Give instructions to the commander of the brigades left behind, to watch the flank and rear of the army, and (in the evidence of the enemy leaving their front) retire from the mountains west of the Shenandoah, leaving sufficient pickets to guard the passes, and bringing everything clear along the Valley, closing upon the rear of the army.” [48]

Finally, Marshall provided an additional admonishment to Stuart “I think the sooner you cross into Maryland, after to-morrow, the better.” [49] However, the orders or suggestions that Lee and Longstreet gave Stuart “are so badly worded that it is difficult to make sense of them.” [50] In them, Stuart was directed maintain contact with Ewell, screen the Blue Ridge gaps, collect information, “raiding around the rear of Hooker’s forces” [51] damaging the enemy, and collecting supplies.

Lee should have “established that Stuart’s most important task was to guard Ewell’s right and report on the direction of Hooker’s advance once Lee crossed the Potomac.” [52]

This he did not do.

Lee’s lack of clarity and vagueness allowed to Stuart interpret the order in the manner that benefited his need to redeem his reputation. The order could easily be interpreted as getting Stuart and his men into Pennsylvania as quickly as possible to guard Ewell’s flank and discern the intentions of the enemy, which in hindsight and according to his aids appears to have been Lee’s intent. But as written, they could easily ben interpreted as permission to conduct a raid to “roam in the enemy’s rear for an unpredictable period of time, raising havoc with his communications, supplies, and isolated commands” and then “seek out Ewell’s corps and use it as a place of refuge from an aroused enemy.” [53]

Porter Alexander was quite critical of Lee’s decision and wrote after the war:
“In view of the issues at stake, and of the fact that he had been deprived of two promised brigades (Corse’s and Jenkins’s), it was unwise even to contemplate sending three brigades of cavalry on such distant service. When one compares the small beneficial results of raids, even when successful, with the risks here involved, it is hard to understand how Lee could have given his consent.” [54]

Stuart, as he was want to do, used “the freedom that he had long enjoyed in implementing Lee’s orders” [55] to carry out his plan. Now smarting from the Brandy Station criticism, Stuart “interpreted them as a sanction for another White House raid….” [56] While it is certain that Lee meant to give Stuart permission for a “joyride around the entire Army of the Potomac or even just the three Federal corps which formed the westernmost wing of Hooker’s pell-mell rush to the Potomac” [57] he had given his knight errant just enough permission to do exactly that, exactly what he wanted to do in the first place.

Had Lee’s orders been clear there is no doubt that Stuart would have obeyed,

The fact is that different standards apply to each of those courses of action, and thus, the orders must be clear. Without such clarity it becomes easy for subordinates to interpret them in a far different way from which they were intended by the issuing commander, with far reaching effects. By giving Stuart the latitude to go around the Federal army Lee had undercut his own preference that Stuart cross into Maryland via Shepherdstown and Frederick on June 24th. Lee had provided Stuart an opportunity for something that “Longstreet half-apologetically called “something better than the drudgery of a march around our flank.” [58] It was a critical mistake, which was then further compounded by Stuart and the movement of the Army of the Potomac.

Porter Alexander compared Stuart’s Ride to Joe Hooker’s use of his cavalry corps at Chancellorsville noting: “I think that Joe Hooker’s defeat was due to the absence of his cavalry on just such a useless raid as this. We ought to have recognized Hooker’s error & avoided repeating it….We took unnecessary risk, which was bad war, & the only bad war too, I think, in all our tactics.” [59] However, in retrospect it does not appear that Lee, Longstreet or Stuart recognized the problems this risk would entail, or just how much it resembled Hooker’s use of his cavalry corps at Chancellorsville.

 

Historians have long wondered why Lee was not more explicit in his orders to Stuart and why Stuart conducted an operation that left Lee blind and had no obvious advantages, except to allow Stuart to recover his tarnished reputation. Stephen Sears noted in his book Gettysburg that: “The very concept of Stuart’s expedition was fueled by overconfidence and misjudgment at the highest command level.” [60]

In a sense the decision harkens back to the hubris of Lee and others about the superiority of his army, and Lee’s well known distain for the Federal army’s leadership and soldiers. This hubris is even more profound when one considers the fact that as early as June 23rd Lee knew “that the Federals were laying a pontoon bridge at Edward’s Ferry, indicative of a crossing.” [61]

Stuart’s Ride

“Stuart had decided to do what he wanted to do – a march between Hooker’s army and Washington and mix raiding with riding en route to Ewell in Pennsylvania.” [62] In organizing his movement, Stuart decided to take his three best brigades with him, and leave the brigades of “Grumble” Jones and Beverly Robertson to defend gaps and screen the rear of the army. The choice was unfortunate; Jones was considered the “best outpost officer in his command,” [63] but Robertson, though known to be unpredictable was placed in command because he was “senior to the dependable Jones.” [64] The choice ridded Stuart of Robertson, who he did not trust in battle and Jones “whose antipathy for Stuart at least equaled Stuart’s for him.” [65] Stuart instructed Robertson to “observe and harass the Federals as long as they remained in Virginia.” [66]

On the surface to Stuart it appeared the right choice, Robertson “showed neither the initiative or enterprise of a cavalry officer in the Army of Northern Virginia, Robertson could only be used for routine work, such as guarding the mountain passes.” [67]

The intent was that Robertson would screen the army and follow it into Maryland, in fact Stuart gave Robertson “explicit instructions” [68] to do so, but Stuart’s order also contained a statement which Robertson used to justify his actions years later. Stuart instructed Robertson, who could be expected to obey orders:
“After the enemy has moved beyond your reach, leave sufficient pickets in the mountains and withdraw to the west side of the Shenandoah and place a strong and reliable picket to watch the enemy at Harper’s Ferry….

As long as the enemy remains in your front, in force, unless directed otherwise ordered by General R.E. Lee, Lieutenant-General Longstreet, or myself, hold the gaps with a line of pickets reaching across the Shenandoah by Charlestown to the Potomac.

Avail yourselves of every means in your power to increase the efficiency of your command and keep it up to the highest number possible. Particular attention will be paid to the shoeing of horses, and to marching off the turnpikes….” [69]

Robertson, interpreted the order that he was to go to the western side of the Shenandoah and avoid using the turnpikes, which he noted “the only road by which the orders (which particularly specified the avoidance of “turnpikes” on the difficulty and delay of shoeing horses) could be complied with, carried my command to Martinsburg….” [70]

Thus, “the two brigades would remain fixed, as if planted there, in an inanition of command which immobilized the men for whom Lee in Pennsylvania was anxiously watching.” [71] Longstreet had requested the industrious and dependable Hampton to command the remaining cavalry, but Stuart disregarded his counsel and took Hampton with him, after all, he was J.E.B. Stuart, the finest cavalryman on the American continent.

Stuart set off with his three best brigades, those of Wade Hampton, Fitzhugh Lee, and Rooney Lee. Since Lee had been wounded at Brandy Station, his brigade was now under the command of Colonel John R. Chambliss, another former West Pointer retired from the old army. Almost immediately after setting off Stuart and his brigades encountered a situation that should have immediately stopped movement to the Federal rear and instead move west of the Blue Ridge.

Moving through Glasscock’s Gap they “bumped unexpectedly into “an immense wagon train,” which happened to be the tail end of Winfield Hancock’s 2nd Corps, blocking the road in exactly the fashion Lee had described as a hindrance.” [72] In light of his encounter with the Army of the Potomac, it “was now clearly impossible for Stuart to follow the route originally intended.” [73] Stuart was now faced with a critical choice, either withdraw and follow the army, or attempt to continue his raid.

Instead of going back when he had the chance Stuart elected to continue with his “plan to go around the Federal army. It was a crucial decision, for he still could have turned back without losing any more time.” [74] Stuart consulted with “no ranking subordinate or staff member” [75] as he made his decision. On June 25th Stuart’s brigades had to spend a day grazing their horses since they had brought no grain with him, which delayed their advance north and east. This placed him a day behind schedule. Though he made better time on the 26th, advancing twenty-five miles he had to again stop to graze his horses at the Occoquan River. It had “taken forty-eight hours to march thirty-five miles.” [76]

The Price of 125 Wagons

Stuart continued on past the outskirts of Washington on June 27th and was again delayed when attempting to cross the Potomac at Rowser’s Ford by the “water level two feet higher than normal.” [77] He then encountered a large Federal wagon train not far from Washington capturing over 100 wagons and 600 mules. Stuart reveled in that feat and boasted that “he had taken more than one hundred and twenty-five best United States model wagons and splendid teams and gay caparisons,” containing “foodstuffs, oats, hay…bacon, ham, crackers and bread” but his progress was slowed by his enormous wagon train of captured supplies…” [78] He and briefly wondered “whether it might be worth “our entering Washington City” [79] before determining that the effort might be too costly because of the fortifications and proliferation of artillery.

At Fairfax Courthouse Stuart sent a message to Lee, which was never received by Lee, but which did arrive in Richmond on July 1st. It was a dispatch that was late, and even factually incorrect for the bulk of the Army of the Potomac was in Maryland advancing toward Lee in Pennsylvania. His report stated:

“General: – I took possession of Fairfax C.H. this morning at nine o’clock, together with large quantity of stores. The bulk of Hooker’s army has gone toward Lee’sburg, except the garrison at Alexandria and Washington, which has retreated to its fortifications.” [80]

On June 28th, Stuart received word that Hooker and the Army of the Potomac was across the Potomac. It was a major surprise to him, and by now Stuart “knew nothing of Lee’s position,[81] and instead of abandoning the wagon train, he sacrificed the speed and mobility that he needed to support Lee in order to keep it. Douglas Southall Freeman wrote that the “wagon train was Jeb Stuart’s stumbling block.” [82]

Of course it was Lee’s order for Stuart to collect all the supplies that he could justified Stuart’s course of action. Now, Stuart “far from guarding Ewell’s right, he was now moving away from Ewell, with no idea where Hooker’s army might be and no communication with Lee, who frequently inquiring of his aides, “Can you tell me where General Stuart is?” [83] But “ignorant of his chief’s distress, Jeb was not concerned, apparently, over the encumbrance of his wagon train.” [84] Stuart’s chief of staff Henry McClellan wrote after the war that “the capture of the train of wagons was a misfortune. The time occupied in securing it was insignificant; but the delay caused to the subsequent march was serious at a time when minutes counted almost as hours.” [85]

On the wrong side of the federal army, encumbered by the captured wagon train, “Stuart would have to make a half circle of more than fifty miles around Gettysburg before arriving there about noon on the second day of battle with most of his troopers, his artillery, and his wagon train lumbering far behind him.” [86]

On June 30th his men were engaged by Judson Kilpatrick’s Federal near cavalry division near Hanover, and “his men never fought more poorly…and General Stuart and his staff were nearly captured.” [87] As Stuart’s brigades slowly advanced  through Northern Virginia and Maryland the strain was becoming evident. The units had “covered more than one hundred miles since leaving Salem. Horses broke down and were abandoned, with their riders scouring the countryside for replacements. With each successive mile, the problem worsened.” [88]

As Stuart and his men plodded their way around the Army of the Potomac, encumbered by their booty they had to constantly fight off the Federal cavalry units of Judson Kilpatrick who had been dispatched to follow and harass him.

By now, Robert E. Lee was becoming more anxious by the hour. He had no contact with Stuart for nearly five days and he knew little about the locations or intentions of the enemy army. On the 27th at Chambersburg Lee was disquieted and asked various staff members “Can you tell me where General Stuart is?” Have you any news of the enemy’s movements?” [89]

On the morning of July 1st with his army now engaged in battle, “Stuart was practically lost, and had to guess which direction he should go to find Lee’s army.” [90] Lee enquired of Major Campbell Brown of Ewell’s Second Corps staff if Ewell “had heard anything” from Stuart. Brown, who had come to deliver a message from Ewell to Lee noted that Lee’s question was asked “with a particular searching almost quelous impatience.” [91] Lee told Brown that “Gen’l Stuart had not complied with his instructions” but instead had “gone off clear around” the Federal army, because “I see by a (Balto or N.Y.?) paper that he is near Washington.” [92] As Brown left he thought that Lee was “really uneasy & irritated by Stuart’s conduct & had no objection to his [Brown’s] hearing it.” [93]

 

Return of the Knight Errant

By the time Stuart’s troopers arrived in Gettysburg, “the expedition had occupied eight days, and had traversed in that time about 250 miles.” [94] Meanwhile, Lee had been exceedingly impatient. Stuart’s once proud outfit was “exhausted and too late to be of any service.” [95] The three brigades involved had lost very few men in combat, according to Porter Alexander only eighty-nine men were killed or wounded, [96] however “hundreds, if not thousands, of Stuart’s men had abandoned ranks during the ride, had their mounts break down, or were physically unable to perform their duties.” [97]

Stuart’s arrival at Gettysburg was not a moment of triumph by any means, but was a humiliating experience. Instead of reporting to his commander with information that Lee needed, it was Lee who informed him of the position of his own army and the Army of the Potomac. Lee’s words to his much beloved subordinate were painful. He asked him “General Stuart, where have you been?” [98] Stuart seemed to wilt at his mentor’s words, and attempted to put the best face forward, and told Lee “I have brought you 125 wagons and their teams, General.” This did not mollify Lee, who replied “Yes, General, but they are an impediment to me now.” [99]

Stuart’s raid was disastrous for Lee. He was blind and had no idea where the Federal army was until told by Longstreet’s scout Harrison on June 28th. One historian noted that the ride was “an act of folly- ill-planned, badly conducted, and (until the very end) executed with an almost total disregard for anything for any interest other than the self-promotion of J.E.B. Stuart.” [100] A staff member at Stuart’s headquarters wrote after the war:

“Raiding was Stuart’s hobby…and one which he rode with never failing persistence….What a glorious opportunity was now offered for the indulgence of his love!…What a tempting prize lay within his reach….Here was an undertaking which…would eclipse in brilliance and real importance any exploit of the war.” [101]

Stuart’s actions were heavily criticized by many in the army. Moxey Sorrell who served on Longstreet’s staff described the raid “a useless, showy parade almost under the guns of the Washington forts, and his horse, laurel wreathed, bore the gay rider on amid songs and stories.” [102] Likewise, Lee’s Chief of Staff Colonel Charles Marshall “urged the commanding general to court-martial Stuart” [103]

Lee was gracious to the extreme in his discussion of Stuart’s actions in his after action report. He made but one inference to Staurt without naming him’ but it was damning: “The movements of the army preceding the battle of Gettysburg had been much embarrassed by the absence of the cavalry.” [104] Walter Taylor of Lee’s staff wrote that the report was a “simple statement of facts: a striking illustration of his tendency to always suppress all consideration of self and spare the reputations and feelings of others.” [105]

In his after action report, which was by far the longest of any confederate commander, Stuart admitted to no mistakes. In it he showed a “self-righteous attitude” and showed a “tendency to complain of the failure of others.” [106] and in a manner blamed Lee and the remaining cavalry commanders for the loss, insisting that “he had left Lee with plenty of cavalry and remarked that “properly handled, such a command should have done everything requisite….” [107] There is some truth in this, but at the same time it is a foil which Stuart used to deflect criticism from himself. He blamed Jubal Early and his infantry for not finding him in Pennsylvania, when such responsibility by the doctrine of the day lay with the cavalry and not the infantry and Hill and Longstreet for not conforming their advance to his timetable.

Edward Coddington described Stuart’s report as “a strange document, more of an apology than a report, in which he tried to prove the virtues of his adventure.” [108] It was unfortunate and when Wade Hampton saw the report he wrote to Thomas Munford “Lately I saw for the first time Stuart’s report of the Gettysburg campaign and I never read a more erroneous – to call it no harsher name – one than it was.” [109]

Basically, in Stuart’s fantasy world, the world where his reputation mattered more than truth “Had Lee “properly handled” the cavalry Stuart left with him; had Early’s infantry found the cavalry column; had Hill and Longstreet acted in accord with Stuart’s after the fact assumptions – then all would have been well.” [110]

But despite Stuart’s hearty exaggerations in his after action report and the claims of his post war apologists, John Mosby and Henry McClellan, the raid had little effect on the army of the Potomac. The losses of wagons were rapidly made up by the massive Union war industry, of his prisoners, the majority of who he had to parole, close to half were teamsters and not trained combat soldiers. Though he had destroyed some rail lines, he never severed the ones that Meade used between his army and Washington D.C.

In sum, Stuart’s  gambit to redeem his reputation and build upon his legacywas a major part of Lee’s failure at Gettysburg. It certainly not the only one, Lee, Hill, Ewell, Longstreet and even Jefferson Davis made terrible decisions that contributed to the defeat. But that being said, in terms of the scope of the single decision of a commander which impacted  the campaign, this one is perhaps the only one which is indefensible by any standard of interpretation.

To this point a number of issues important to those involved in planning campaigns became clear: Deception, commander’s intent and unity of command. Lee successfully used deception to prevent the Federals from discerning his purposes. That was counteracted by his lack of clarity in communicating his intent to Stuart, and Stuart’s, Stuart’s own vague orders to Robertson, and the careless disregard by Stuart of any other consideration but his own reputation and vanity.

Notes

[1] ___________. Joint Publication 3-0 Joint Operations Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington DC August 2011

 

[2] Guelzo, Allen C. Gettysburg: The Last Invasion Vintage Books a Division of Random House, New York 2013 p.53

[3] Wert, Jeffry D. General James Longstreet The Confederacy’s Most Controversial Soldier, A Touchstone Book, Simon and Schuster, New York and London 1993 p.85

[4] Korda, Michael.

Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee Harper Collins Publishers, New York 2014 p.xxv

 

[5] Sears, Stephen W. To the Gates of Richmond: The Peninsula Campaign Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston and New York, 1992 p.173

 

[6] Wert, Jeffry D. A Glorious Army: Robert E. Lee’s Triumph 1862-1863 Simon and Schuster, New York and London 2011 p.26
[7] Ibid. Sears. To the Gates of Richmond p.173

 

[8] Freeman, Douglas Southall, Lee’s Lieutenant’s a Study in Command, One volume abridgement by Stephen W Sears, Scribner, New York 1998 p.158

 

[9] Ibid. Sears. To the Gates of Richmond p.173

 

[10] Ibid. Guelzo, Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.53
[11] Davis, Burke J.E.B. Stuart: The Last Cavalier Random House, New York 1957 p.94

 

[12] Ibid. Guelzo, Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.53

 

[13] Alexander, Edward Porter Military Memoirs of a Confederate: A Critical Narrative 1907 republished 2013 by Pickle Partners Publishing, Amazon Kindle Edition location 5633

 

[14] Thomas, Emory M. Bold Dragoon: The Life of J.E.B. Stuart University of Oklahoma Press, Norman OK 1986 and 1999 p.232

 

[15] Longacre, Edward G. Gentleman and Soldier: The Extraordinary Life of General Wade Hampton Rutledge Hill Press, Nashville TN 2003 p.82

 

[16] Ibid. Wert Cavalryman of the Lost Cause p.252

 

[17] Ibid. Thomas, Emory M. Bold Dragoon p.231
[18] Ibid. Wert Cavalryman of the Lost Cause p.252

 

[19] Ibid. Thomas Bold Dragoon p.256

 

[20] Ibid. Freeman Lee’s Lieutenant’s p.552

 

[21] Petruzzi, J. David and Stanley, Steven The Gettysburg Campaign in Numbers and Losses: Synopses, Orders of Battle, Strengths, Casualties and Maps, June 9 – July 1, 1863 Savas Beatie LLC, El Dorado Hills CA 2012 p.41
[22] Ibid. Davis, Burke J.E.B. Stuart: The Last Cavalier pp.319-320
[23] Ibid. Freeman Lee’s Lieutenant’s p.552

 

[24] Dowdy, Clifford. Lee and His Men at Gettysburg: The Death of a Nation Skyhorse Publishing, New York 1986, originally published as Death of a Nation Knopf, New York 1958 p.57
[25] Catton, Bruce The Army of the Potomac: Glory Road Doubleday and Company, Garden City New York, 1952 p.253

 

[26] Ibid. Wert A Glorious Army p.224

 

[27] Longacre, Edward G. John Buford: A Military Biography Da Capo Press, Perseus Book Group, Cambridge MA p.175

 

[28] Ibid. Freeman Lee’s Lieutenant’s p.553

 

[29] Ibid. Dowdy Lee and His Men at Gettysburg p.57
[30] Ibid. Freeman Lee’s Lieutenants p.553

 

[31] Ibid. Thomas Bold Dragoon p.233

 

[32] Ibid. Alexander Military Memoirs of a Confederate location 7210

 

[33] Ibid. Thomas Bold Dragoon p.240

 

[34] Fuller, J.F.C. Grant and Lee: A Study in Personality and Generalship, Indiana University Press, Bloomington IN 1957 p.195
[35]   McClellan, Henry Brainerd The Life and Campaigns of Major General J.E.B. Stuart Commander of the Cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia 1885. Digital edition copyright 2011 Strait Gate Publications, Charlotte NC Location 6131
[36] Coddington, Edwin B. The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command, A Touchstone Book, Simon and Schuster New York, 1968 p.108

 

[37] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.108

 

[38] Ibid. Davis J.E.B. Stuart: The Last Cavalier p.321

 

[39] Oates, William C. and Haskell, Frank A. Gettysburg: The Confederate and Union Views of the Most Decisive Battle of the War in One Volume Bantam Books edition, New York 1992, originally published in 1905 p.61
[40] Pryor, Elizabeth Brown. Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters Penguin Books, New York and London 2007 p.332

 

[41] Ibid. Freeman Lee’s Lieutenants p.555

 

[42] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.109

 

[43] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.109

 

[44] Ibid. McClellan The Life and Campaigns of Major General J.E.B. Stuart Location 6087

 

[45] Ibid. McClellan The Life and Campaigns of Major General J.E.B. Stuart location 6106

 

[46] Lee, Robert E. Reports of Robert E Lee, C.S. Army, Commanding Army of Northern Virginia Campaign Report Dated January 20th 1864. Amazon Kindle Edition location 285

 

[47] Ibid. Davis J.E.B. Stuart: The Last Cavalier p.324

 

[48] Ibid. Wert Cavalryman of the Lost Cause p.259

 

[49] Ibid. Wert Cavalryman of the Lost Cause p.259

 

[50] Fuller, J.F.C. Decisive Battles of the U.S.A. 1776-1918 University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln 2007 copyright 1942 The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals p.226

 

[51] Ibid Korda Clouds of Glory p.540

 

[52] Ibid. Korda Clouds of Glory p.540

 

[53] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.110

 

[54] Ibid. Alexander Military Memoirs of a Confederate location7223 of 12968

 

[55] Taylor, John M. Duty Faithfully Performed: Robert E Lee and His Critics Brassey’s, Dulles VA 1999 p.136

 

[56] Ibid. Fuller Decisive Battles of the U.S.A.p.226. Note: The White House Raid was Stuart’s ride around McClellan’s army during the Seven Days.

 

[57] Ibid. Guelzo, Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.96
[58] Ibid. Guelzo, Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.96
[59] Alexander, Edward Porter. Fighting for the Confederacy: The Personal Recollections of General Edward Porter Alexander edited by Gary Gallagher University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill 1989 p.228

 

[60] Sears, Stephen W. Gettysburg, Mariner Books, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston and New York, 2003 p.106
[61] Ibid. Wert A Glorious Army p.226

 

[62] Ibid. Thomas Bold Dragoon p.241

 

[63] Ibid. Davis J.E.B. Stuart: The Last Cavalier p.324

 

[64] Ibid. Dowdy Lee and His Men at Gettysburg p.63
[65] Ibid. Dowdy Lee and His Men at Gettysburg p.63
[66] Ibid. Thomas Bold Dragoon p.241
[67] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.112

 

[68] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.112

 

[69] Robertson, Beverly The Confederate Cavalry in the Gettysburg Campaign in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War Volume III, The Tide Shifts. Edited by Robert Underwood Johnson and Clarence Clough Buel Castle, Secaucus NJ p.253

 

[70] Ibid, Robertson The Confederate Cavalry in the Gettysburg Campaign p.253

 

[71] Ibid. Dowdy Lee and His Men at Gettysburg p.63
[72] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.96

 

[73] Ibid. Wert Cavalryman of the Lost Cause p.265

 

[74] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.112

 

[75] Ibid. Wert Cavalryman of the Lost Cause p.266

 

[76] Ibid. Davis J.E.B. Stuart: The Last Cavalier p.325

 

[77] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.112

 

[78] Ibid Korda Clouds of Glory p.541

 

[79] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.98
[80] Ibid. Wert Cavalryman of the Lost Cause p.272

 

[81] Ibid. Davis J.E.B. Stuart: The Last Cavalier p.325

 

[82] Ibid. Freeman Lee’s Lieutenants p.558

 

[83] Ibid Korda Clouds of Glory p.541

 

[84] Ibid. Freeman Lee’s Lieutenants p.558

 

[85] Ibid. McClellan The Life and Campaigns of Major General J.E.B. Stuart location 6267 of 12283

 

[86] Ibid Korda Clouds of Glory p.541

 

[87] Ibid. Dowdy Lee and His Men at Gettysburg p.73
[88] Ibid. Wert Cavalryman of the Lost Cause p.272

 

[89] Ibid. Wert Cavalryman of the Lost Cause p.273

 

[90] Ibid. Alexander Military Memoirs of a Confederate location7248 of 12968

 

[91] Ibid. Wert Cavalryman of the Lost Cause p.281

 

[92] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.98
[93] Ibid. Wert Cavalryman of the Lost Cause p.281

 

[94] Ibid. Alexander Military Memoirs of a Confederate location7223 of 12968

 

[95] Ibid. Fuller Decisive Battles of the U.S.A. 1776-1918 p.227

 

[96] Ibid. Alexander Military Memoirs of a Confederate location 7261 of 12968

 

[97] Ibid. Wert Cavalryman of the Lost Cause p.285

 

[98] Ibid. Davis J.E.B. Stuart: The Last Cavalier p.334

 

[99] Ibid. Davis J.E.B. Stuart: The Last Cavalier p.334

 

[100] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.98
[101] Ibid. Wert Cavalryman of the Lost Cause p.268

 

[102] Sorrell, Moxey G. Recollections of a Confederate Staff Officer [Illustrated Edition] originally published 1905, Pickle Partners Publishing 2013, Amazon Kindle version location 2585 of 5692

 

[103] Ibid. Thomas Bold Dragoon p.252
[104] Lee, Robert E. Reports of Robert E Lee, C.S. Army, Commanding Army of Northern Virginia Campaign Report Dated January 20th 1864. Amazon Kindle Edition, location 624 of 743

 

[105] Taylor, Walter. General Lee: His campaigns in Virginia 1861-1865 With Personal Reminiscences University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln Nebraska and London, 1994 previously published 1906 p.185

 

[106] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.202

 

[107] Ibid. Thomas Bold Dragoon p.254

 

[108] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.202

 

[109] Ibid. Thomas Bold Dragoon p.253

 

[110] Ibid. Thomas Bold Dragoon p.255

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“Can You Tell Me Where General Stuart Is?” JEB Stuart’s Ride

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While the embattled Hooker slowly pursued Lee with the Army of the Potomac drama of major significance to the battle Robert E. Lee’s own making was beginning to engulf his operations and leave him blind to the movements of the Federal Army. It was the first of a number of mistakes that would characterize his campaign almost all dealing with his singular inability to get his commanders to understand his intent. The necessity of subordinate commanders understanding the intent of their superior is essential to the success of any military operation and Lee failed miserably at this during the Gettysburg campaign.

After the surprise at Brandy Station Stuart’s troopers screened the right flank of the army as it moved north, defending the gaps in the Blue Ridge to keep Pleasanton’s cavalry from interdicting the march or discovering the location of Lee’s infantry corps. In this he was successful. Between June 17th and June 21st his troopers fought a series of engagements at Ashby’s Gap, Middleburg and Upperville. While Stuart’s troopers had held off Pleasanton the “running combats were taking a toll on the Southern mounted arm, however. Stuart had already suffered several hundred casualties defending gaps and passes.” [1] The Confederates also noted the improvements in the Federal cavalry during these battles. Captain William Blackford, who served as an engineer on Stuart’s staff noted:

“the improvement of enemy cavalry was enormous, mainly in the heavy fire from long range carbines, and horse artillery that was a match for Stuart’s own These cavalrymen fought as if they had been taken from infantry regiments, for they knew how to fight with horses left behind.” [2]

Unlike the rest of the army which was now marching into Pennsylvania and Maryland, Stuart’s Cavalry Division had little cause to rejoice. They had been surprised at Brandy Station and Stuart had been humiliated in the Southern press. The Federal cavalry under Pleasanton gave him no opportunity to redeem himself. While Pleasanton’s troopers never broke through Stuart’s screen, they had pressed him hard, and his division was “really fought out during those two weeks from June 9 until the misty morning of June 22….Not only had Stuart’s cavalry been pressed on the defensive as never before, but also they had not been able to gain a spot of information about the enemy.” [3] Pleasanton’s troopers and proven that the days of “easy Confederate cavalry triumphs were gone,” [4] and Stuart “smarting over the cuts to his ego, refused to read the portents.” [5]

Stuart had been fighting defensively the entire campaign, but desperately wanted to go on the offensive. As his troops battled at Aldie, Middleburg and Upperville, Stuart formulated a plan which he submitted to Lee. Stuart reasoned now that “all the infantry were west of the Blue Ridge…that it would be possible to leave one or two brigades of cavalry to defend the gaps and with the remaining three to descend on the enemy and harass Hooker in any advance into Pennsylvania.” [6]

On the morning of the 22nd of June Stuart noticed that the Federal cavalry which had engaged him at Upperville the previous day was no longer present. That morning he also received an order from Lee that was the first of a series of vague, poorly written and contradictory orders that was to plague the campaign. Unlike his new infantry corps commanders, Ewell and Hill, Stuart was very familiar with Robert E. Lee’s method of command, and Lee had “so much faith in Stuart’s judgment and ability to make the right moves that after indicating his wishes he gave him considerable latitude in carrying them out. His orders were more suggestions than commands….” [7] However well that may have worked for Lee in the past with Jackson and Stuart, the nature of Lee’s orders to Stuart, being conditional, needed to clearly address “the conditions upon which they are based.” [8] This Lee did not do. His order read:

“I judge the efforts of the enemy yesterday were to arrest our progress and ascertain our whereabouts. Perhaps he is satisfied. Do you know where he is and what he is doing? I fear he will steal a march on us and get across the Potomac before we are aware. If you find that he is moving northward and that two brigades can guard the Blue Ridge and take care of your rear, you can move with the other three into Maryland and take position on General Ewell’s right, place yourself in communication with him, guard his flank, keep him informed of the enemy’s movements and collect all the supplies you can….” [9]

Longstreet, who Stuart was cooperating with on the northward march, added his own comments to Lee’s instruction which even further clouded the order:

General Lee has enclosed this letter for you, to be forwarded to you, provided you can be spared from my front, and provided I think that you can move across the Potomac without disclosing our plans. He speaks of your leaving via the Hopewell Gap and passing by the rear of the enemy. If you can get through by that route I think that you will be less likely to indicate what our plans are than if you should be passing to our rear. I forward the letter of instructions with these suggestions. Please advise me of the condition of affairs before you leave, and order General Hampton, whom I suppose will leave here in command, to report to me at Millwood, either by letter or in person, as may be most agreeable to him.” [10]  

stuartsridemap

Stuart was already planning his offensive which he believed would restore his glory. He had sent Major John Mosby with a small detachment of troops to reconnoiter behind the Union lines. Mosby reported the location of all the infantry corps of the Army of the Potomac. Mosby reported to Stuart on June 23rd that the Federal corps were stationary and “were so widely separated…that a column of cavalry could easily get between them.” [11] It was news that Stuart was delighted to hear. Mosby painted a glowing picture of how an operation using the Hopewell Gap could create havoc in the Federal rear and cause panic in Washington as he could “severe communications between Hooker and Pleasanton, destroy a “large portion” of Hooker’s transportation, and take some of the pressure off Lee by creating a diversion for the Union cavalry.” [12]

The inactivity of the Federal army reported by Mosby was exactly the news Stuart wanted to hear, and he asked Lee for permission to plunge into the Federal rear, and in his after action report wrote:

“I submitted to the commanding general the plan of leaving a brigade or so in my present front, and passing through Hopewell, or some other gap in Bull Run Mountain, attaining the enemy’s rear, and passing between his main body and Washington, to cross into Maryland and joining our army north of the Potomac.” [13]

Lee noted that “Upon the suggestion of the former officer (General Stuart) that he could damage the enemy and delay his passage of the river by getting to his rear, he was authorized to do so.” [14] In his after action report of the campaign Lee wrote:

“General Stuart was left to guard the passes of the mountains and observe the movements of the enemy, whom he was instructed to impede and harass as much as possible, should he attempt to cross the Potomac. In that event, General Stuart was directed to move into Maryland, crossing the Potomac east or west of the Blue Ridge, as, in his judgment, should be best, and take position on the right of our column as it advanced.” [15]

That night, during a heavy rainstorm Stuart’s chief of staff Major McClellan received Lee’s reply to his superior’s request which he immediately delivered to Stuart. Lee’s stated:

“If General Hooker’s army remains inactive, you can leave two brigades to watch him, and withdraw with three others, but should he not appear to be moving northward, I think you had better withdraw this side of the mountains tomorrow night, cross as  Shepherdstown next day, and move over to Frederickstown.

You will, however, be able to judge whether you can pass around their army without hindrance, doing them all the damage you can, and cross the river east of the mountains. In either case, after crossing the river, you must move on and feel the right of Ewell’s troops, collecting information, provisions, etc.” [16]

However, the orders or suggestions that Lee and Longstreet gave Stuart “are so badly worded that it is difficult to make sense of them.” [17]  Lee should have “established that Stuart’s most important task was to guard Ewell’s right and report on the direction of Hooker’s advance once Lee crossed the Potomac.” [18] This he did not do. Instead, Stuart was directed maintain contact with Ewell, screen the Blue Ridge gaps, collecting information, “raiding around the rear of Hooker’s forces” [19] damaging the enemy and collecting supplies.

Lee’s lack of clarity and vagueness allowed to Stuart interpret the order in a manner that benefited him. The order could easily be interpreted as getting Stuart and his men into Pennsylvania as quickly as possible to guard Ewell’s flank and discern the intentions of the enemy, which in hindsight appears to be Lee’s intent, or as permission to conduct a raid “roam in the enemy’s rear for an unpredictable period of time, raising havoc with his communications, supplies, and isolated commands” and then “seek out Ewell’s corps and use it as a place of refuge from an aroused enemy.” [20]

The fact is that different standards apply to each of those courses of action and orders must be clear, otherwise subordinates may interpret them in a far different manner, with far reaching effects, than the commander issuing them intended. But, by giving Stuart the latitude to go around the Federal army Lee had undercut his own preference that Stuart cross into Maryland via Shepherdstown and Frederick on June 24th. Lee had provided Stuart an opportunity for something that “Longstreet half-apologetically called “something better than the drudgery of a march around our flank.” [21] It was a critical mistake, which was then further compounded by Stuart and the movement of the Army of the Potomac.

Stung by the criticism of his conduct of the Battle of Brandy Station in the Southern press and frustrated by Pleasanton’s constant thrusts Stuart interpreted the orders in the manner that appealed to Stuart’s sense of glory. He would repeat his triumph of the previous year when he rode around the Army of the Potomac. For Stuart this was a chance to regain the limelight and add to his luster. Stuart “summed up his interpretation of his orders when he said later: …it was deemed practicable to move entirely in the enemy’s rear, intercepting his communications with his base (Washington), and, inflicting damage upon his rear, to rejoin the army in Pennsylvania in time to participate in its actual conflicts.” [22]

Historians have long wondered why Lee was not more explicit in his orders to Stuart and why Stuart conducted an operation that left Lee blind and had no obvious advantages, except to allow Stuart to recover his tarnished reputation. Stephen Sears noted in his book Gettysburg that: “The very concept of Stuart’s expedition was fueled by overconfidence and misjudgment at the highest command level.” [23] In a sense the decision harkens back to the hubris of Lee and others about the superiority of his army, and Lee’s distain for the Federal army.

In organizing his movement, decided to take his three best brigades with him, and leave the brigades of “Grumble” Jones and Beverly Robertson to defend gaps and screen the rear of the army. The choice was unfortunate; Robertson was unpredictable and was “senior to the dependable Jones” [24] who was considered the “best outpost officer in his command.” [25] The choice ridded Stuart of Robertson, who he did not trust in battle and Jones “whose antipathy for Stuart at least equaled Stuart’s for him.” [26] The intent was that Robertson would screen the army and follow it into Maryland, in fact Stuart gave Robertson “explicit instructions” [27] to do so, but instead “the two brigades would remain fixed, as if planted there, in an inanition of command which immobilized the men for whom Lee in Pennsylvania was anxiously watching.” [28] Longstreet had requested the industrious and dependable Hampton command the remain cavalry, but Stuart disregarded his counsel

Stuart set off with his three best brigades, Wade Hampton’s, Fitzhugh Lee’s, and Rooney Lee’s now, with Lee wounded was under the command of Colonel John R. Chambliss, another former West Pointer retired from the old army. Almost immediately after setting off Stuart and his brigades encountered a situation that should have immediately stopped movement to the Federal rear and instead move west of the Blue Ridge. Moving through Glasscock’s Gap they “bumped unexpectedly into “an immense wagon train,” which happened to be the tail end of Winfield Hancock’s 2nd Corps, blocking the road in exactly the fashion Lee had described as a hindrance.” [29] Instead of going back when he had the chance Stuart elected to continue with his “plan to go around the Federal army. It was a crucial decision, for he still could have turned back without losing any more time.” [30] Stuart had to spend a day grazing his horses since he had no grain with him, delaying his advance north and east, placing him a day behind schedule and though he made better time on the 26th, advancing twenty-five miles he had to again stop to graze his horses at the Occoquan River. It had “taken forty-eight hours to march thirty-five miles.” [31]

Stuart continued on past the outskirts of Washington on June 27th and was again delayed when attempting to cross the Potomac at Rowser’s Ford by the “water level two feet higher than normal.” [32] He then encountered a large Federal wagon train not far from Washington capturing over 100 wagons and 600 mules. He reveled in that feat and boasted that “he had taken more than one hundred and twenty-five best United States model wagons and splendid teams and gay caparisons,” containing “foodstuffs, oats, hay…bacon, ham, crackers and bread” but his progress was slowed by his enormous wagon train of captured supplies…” [33] He and briefly wondered “whether it might be worth “our entering Washington City” [34] before determining that the effort might be too costly.

On June 28th, Stuart received word that Hooker was across the Potomac and by now Stuart “knew nothing of Lee’s position,[35] and instead of abandoning the wagon train he sacrificed speed and mobility to keep it. Now, “far from guarding Ewell’s right, he was now moving away from Ewell, with no idea where Hooker’s army might be and no communication with Lee, who frequently inquiring of his aides, “Can you tell me where General Stuart is?” [36]

On the wrong side of the federal army, encumbered by the captured wagon train, “Stuart would have to make a half circle of more than fifty miles around Gettysburg before arriving there about noon on the second day of battle with most of his troopers, his artillery, and his wagon train lumbering far behind him.” [37] On June 30th his men were engaged by Judson Kilpatrick’s Federal near cavalry division near Hanover, and “his men never fought more poorly…and General Stuart and his staff were nearly captured.” [38] By the time Stuart’s troopers arrived in Gettysburg, the once proud outfit was “exhausted and too late to be of any service.” [39] His arrival at Gettysburg was not a moment of triumph, but was humiliating. Instead of reporting to his commander with information that Lee needed, it was Lee who informed him of the position of his own army and the Army of the Potomac. Lee’s words to his much beloved subordinate were painful. He asked him “General Stuart, where have you been?” [40] Stuart seemed to wilt at his mentor’s words, and attempted to put the best face forward, and told Lee “I have brought you 125 wagons and their teams, General,” to which Lee replied “Yes, General, but they are an impediment to me now.” [41]

Stuart’s raid was disastrous for Lee. He was blind and had no idea where the Federal army was until told by Longstreet’s scout Harrison on June 28th. It was “an act of folly- ill-planned, badly conducted, and (until the very end) executed with an almost total disregard for anything for any interest other than the self-promotion of J.E.B. Stuart.” [42]

To this point a number of issues important to those involved in planning campaigns became clear: Deception, commander’s intent and unity of command. Lee successfully used deception to prevent the Federals from discerning his purposes. That was counteracted by his lack of clarity in communicating his intent to Stuart, and Stuart’s careless disregard of any other consideration but his own reputation and vanity.

[1] Petruzzi, J. David and Stanley, Steven The Gettysburg Campaign in Numbers and Losses: Synopses, Orders of Battle, Strengths, Casualties and Maps, June 9 – July 1, 1863 Savas Beatie LLC, El Dorado Hills CA 2012 p.41

[2] Davis, Burke J.E.B. Stuart: The Last Cavalier Random House, New York 1957 pp.319-320

[3] Dowdy, Clifford. Lee and His Men at Gettysburg: The Death of a Nation Skyhorse Publishing, New York 1986, originally published as Death of a Nation Knopf, New York 1958 p.57

[4] Freeman, Douglas Southall, Lee’s Lieutenant’s a Study in Command, One volume abridgement by Stephen W Sears, Scribner, New York 1998 p.553

[5] Ibid. Dowdy Lee and His Men at Gettysburg p.57

[6] Ibid. Freeman Lee’s Lieutenants p.553

[7] Coddington, Edwin B. The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command, A Touchstone Book, Simon and Schuster New York, 1968 p.108

[8] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.108

[9] Ibid. Davis J.E.B. Stuart: The Last Cavalier p.321

[10] Oates, Willam C. and Haskell, Frank A. Gettysburg: The Confederate and Union Views of the Most Decisive Battle of the War in One Volume Bantam Books edition, New York 1992, originally published in 1905 p.61

[11] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.109

[12] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.109

[13] McClellan, Henry Brainerd The Life and Campaigns of Major General J.E.B. Stuart Commander of the Cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia 1885. Digital edition copyright 2011 Strait Gate Publications, Charlotte NC Location 6087

[14] Ibid. McClellan The Life and Campaigns of Major General J.E.B. Stuart location 6106

[15] Lee, Robert E. Reports of Robert E Lee, C.S. Army, Commanding Army of Northern Virginia Campaign Report Dated January 20th 1864. Amazon Kindle Edition location 285

[16] Ibid. Davis J.E.B. Stuart: The Last Cavalier p.324

[17] Fuller, J.F.C. Decisive Battles of the U.S.A. 1776-1918 University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln 2007 copyright 1942 The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals p.226

[18] Korda, Michael. Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee Harper Collins Publishers, New York 2014 p.540

[19] Ibid Korda Clouds of Glory p.540

[20] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.110

[21] Guelzo, Allen C. Gettysburg: The Last Invasion Vintage Books a Division of Random House, New York 2013 p.96

[22] Ibid. Freeman Lee’s Lieutenants p.555

[23] Sears, Stephen W. Gettysburg, Mariner Books, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston and New York, 2003 p.106

[24] Ibid. Dowdy Lee and His Men at Gettysburg p.63

[25] Ibid. Davis J.E.B. Stuart: The Last Cavalier p.324

[26] Ibid. Dowdy Lee and His Men at Gettysburg p.63

[27] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.112

[28] Ibid. Dowdy Lee and His Men at Gettysburg p.63

[29] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.96

[30] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.112

[31] Ibid. Davis J.E.B. Stuart: The Last Cavalier p.325

[32] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.112

[33] Ibid Korda Clouds of Glory p.541

[34] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.98

[35] Ibid. Davis J.E.B. Stuart: The Last Cavalier p.325

[36] Ibid Korda Clouds of Glory p.541

[37] Ibid Korda Clouds of Glory p.541

[38] Ibid. Dowdy Lee and His Men at Gettysburg p.73

[39] Ibid. Fuller Decisive Battles of the U.S.A. 1776-1918 p.227

[40] Ibid. Davis J.E.B. Stuart: The Last Cavalier p.334

[41] Ibid. Davis J.E.B. Stuart: The Last Cavalier p.334

[42] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.98

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Lee Moves North, Army Politics & the Relief of “Fighting Joe” Hooker

hooker

Major General Joseph “Fighting Joe” Hooker

Friends: This is a major revision of the two part “Lee Moves North” that I put out Monday and Tuesday. I depart tomorrow with my students for our Gettysburg Staff Ride and in this revision I concentrate a lot more on the impact of “Fighting Joe” Hooker on the Army of the Potomac, the “General’s Revolts” that afflicted it and the events leading to Hookers relief during the Gettysburg campaign.

All are very important parts of the story, for despite his personal failings as a commander Hooker set his successors up for success and renewed the spirit of the army through some great reforms which impacted the personal welfare, health, moral and training of his soldiers. His organizational and administrative reforms, which created the Cavalry Corps, the Bureau of Military Information (Intelligence) and more effective medical, sanitary and logistical organizations, set him apart in ways that we often fail to appreciate.

I have taken the time to go into those topics because they have a major effect on the Union victory at Gettysburg. Hooker is a far more complex figure than we often give him credit for; he was a man of brilliance and bravery who had many major character flaws. Likewise I discuss other key figures, men also with feet of clay; J.E.B Stuart, Richard Ewell, Henry Halleck figuring prominently among them.

I think that putting them in this chapter makes the examination of Lee’s movement and the Federal pursuit more pertinent to us as leaders, because the things that Hooker does, for good and bad are issues that military, political and even business or non-profit leaders face. The additions of these parts of the story are important because they show the complexity of flawed people having to make major decisions, in crisis that impact the lives of all of us.

Movement to attain operational reach and maneuver are two critical factors in joint operations. In the time since the American Civil War the distances that forces move to engage the enemy, or maneuver to employ fires to destroy his forces have greatly increased. Movement may be part of an existing Campaign Plan or Contingency Plan developed at Phase 0; it also may be part of a crisis action plan developed in the midst of a campaign. Lee’s movement to get to Gettysburg serves as an example of the former, however, since his forces were already in contact with the Army of the Potomac along the Rappahannock and he was reacting to what he felt was a strategic situation that could not be changed but by going on the offensive that it has the feel of a Crisis Action Plan. Within either context other factors come into play: clarity of communications and orders, security, intelligence, logistics and even more importantly the connection between operational movement and maneuver; the Center of Gravity of the enemy, and national strategy. Since we have already discussed how Lee and the national command authority of the Confederacy got to this point we will discuss the how that decision played in the operational and tactical decisions of Lee and his commanders as the Army of Northern Virginia began the summer campaign and the corresponding actions of Joseph Hooker and the his superiors in Washington.

In the case of Hooker, far more than issues of strategy or operations were involved. Politics, personal rivalries and the personal insecurity of an Army commander played a big role in the drama that engulfed the Army of the Potomac as it pursued Lee’s Army. Additionally the ethics of the leaders involved, especially that of the generals of the Army of the Potomac during their “General’s Revolts” against McClellan, Burnside and Hooker had a major impact on the campaign. These factors all impacted Joe Hooker’s ability to command his army. They affected his relationships with his superiors and subordinates alike, and demonstrate how interconnected all of these elements are in the context of leading, campaigning and conducting the business of war.

“One of the fine arts of the military craft is disengaging one’s army from a guarding army without striking sparks and igniting battle.” [1] On June 3rd 1863 Robert E Lee began to move his units west, away from Fredericksburg to begin his campaign to take the war to the North. He began his exfiltration moving Second Corps under Richard Ewell and First Corps under James Longstreet west “up the south bank of the Rappahannock to Culpepper, near which Hood and Pickett had been halted on their return from Suffolk.” [2] Rodes’ division of Second Corps followed on June 4th with Anderson and Early on June 5th. Lee left the three divisions of A.P. Hill’s Third Corps at Fredericksburg to guard against any sudden advance by Hooker’s Army of the Potomac toward Richmond. Lee instructed Hill to “do everything possible “to deceive the enemy, and keep him in ignorance of any change in the disposition of the army.” [3]

The army was tremendously confident as it marched away from the war ravaged, dreary and desolate battlefields along the Rappahannock “A Captain in the 1st Virginia averred, “Never before has the army been in such a fine condition, so well disciplined and under such complete control.” [4] Porter Alexander wrote that he felt “pride and confidence…in my splendid battalion, as it filed out of the field into the road, with every chest & and ammunition wagon filled, & and every horse in fair order, & every detail fit for a campaign.” [5] Another officer wrote to his father, “I believe there is a general feeling of gratification in the army at the prospect of active operations.” [6]

Lee’s plan was to “shift two-thirds of his army to the northwest and past Hooker’s flank, while A.P. Hill’s Third Corps remained entrenched at Fredericksburg to observe Hooker and perhaps fix him in place long enough for the army to gain several marches on the Federals.” [7] In an organizational and operational sense that Lee’s army after as major of battle as Chancellorsville “was able to embark on such an ambitious flanking march to the west and north around the right of the army of the Potomac….” [8]

However, Lee’s movement did not go unnoticed; Hooker’s aerial observers in their hot air balloons “were up and apparently spotted the movement.” [9] But Hooker was unsure what it meant. He initially suspected that “Lee intended to turn the right flank of the Union army as he had done in the Second Bull Run Campaign, either by interposing his army between Washington and the Federals or by crossing the Potomac River.” [10] Lee halted at Culpepper from which he “could either march westward over the Blue Ridge or, if Hooker moved, recontract at the Rappahannock River.” [11]

“Fighting Joe” Hooker had been in command of the Army of the Potomac about five months, assuming command from Burnside, who Lincoln had relieved after that general had demanded the wholesale firing of ten generals from the army of the Potomac, including Hooker. Hooker was a graduate of West Point, class of 1837 and veteran of the Mexican War. However, he was not well regarded by many of his peers. “While on Garrison duty in California in the 1850s, he cultivated “bad habits and excesses”- too much liquor, and too many women. He left the army, failed at business, and amassed gambling debts and legal problems.” [12]

When war came Hooker managed to obtain an appointment as a Brigadier General of volunteers over the objections of General Winfield Scott from McClellan. He was a “capable commander and brave soldier” [13] but Hooker worked shamelessly against previous army commanders, including George McClellan, who he owed his appointment as a Brigadier General in the Regular Army. Hooker was “a strikingly handsome man” with “erect soldierly bearing…” but he was also “arrogant and stubborn, more than willing to work behind the scenes to advance himself, and reputed to have a headquarters that Charles Francis Adams Jr. described as “a combination barroom and brothel.” [14] The commander of XII Corps, Henry Slocum had “no faith whatever in Hooke’s ability as a military man, in his integrity or honor.” [15] However, George Meade was more circumspect, and wrote to his wife “He is a very good soldier, capital general for an army corps, but I am not prepared to say as to his abilities for carrying out a campaign and commanding a large army. I should fear his judgment and prudence…” [16]

Hooker genuinely believed in his abilities and much of the “criticism which he so freely bestowed on his superiors came simply because his professional competence was outraged by the blunders that he had to witness.[17] But his enemies, “there would be a host of them- regarded him as “thoroughly unprincipled.” Hooker was driven by an “all consuming” ambition and undoubted self-confidence…. War intoxicated hi m and offered salvation for a troubled life. As a gambler he liked the odds.” [18]

During the war Hooker used the media to shamelessly promote his image and “deliberately played up to the press to swell his image as a stern, remorseless campaigner, and he reveled in the nickname the newspapers happily bestowed on him, “Fighting Joe.” [19] However, he would later express his “deep regret that it was ever applied to him. “People will think that I am a highwayman or bandit,” he said; when in fact he was one of the most kindly and tender-hearted of men.” [20]

But Hooker was not just disrespectful of his military superiors, but also of Abraham Lincoln who he told reporters after Fredericksburg “was an imbecile for keeping Burnside on but also in his own right, and that the administration itself “was all played out.” What the country needed was a dictator….” [21] Hooker was an intriguer for sure but unlike many generals who did so anonymously, he was open and public going before the “Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War investigating Fredericksburg” [22] where he not only provided damning testimony against Burnside, but against potential rivals.

When Lincoln appointed him, he gave Hooker a letter unique in American military history. In it Lincoln lectured Hooker as to his conduct while under the command of Burnside, “and just how much he disapproved of the unbounded ambition Hooker had displayed in Undercutting Burnside.” [23] In the letter and during his meeting with Hooker Lincoln laid out his expectations, as well as concerns that he had for him in his new command:

“you may have taken counsel of your ambition, and thwarted him as much as you could, in which you did a great wrong to the country.” Continuing: “I have heard, in such a way as to believe it, of your recently saying that both the Army and the government needed a Dictator. Of course it was not for this, but in spite of it, that I have given you command. Only those generals who gain successes, can set up dictators. What I ask now is military success, and I will risk dictatorship.” [24] However, Lincoln pledged his support to Hooker saying “The government will support you to the utmost of its ability” but warned “I much fear the spirit which you have aided to infuse into the army, of criticizing their commander and withholding confidence in him, will now turn upon you. I shall assist you as far as I can to put it down. Neither you, nor Napoleon, if he were alive again, could get any good out of an army while such a spirit prevails in it.” [25]

Never before or since has an officer been given such responsibility by a President who recognized the man’s qualities, in this case a fighting spirit, as well as his personal vices, and shortcomings in character. Lincoln finished the latter with the admonition “And now, beware of rashness. Beware of rashness, but with energy and sleepless vigilance go forward and give us victories.” [26]

Hooker’s reaction to the letter was an interesting commentary to say the least. He recalled a few days later that, when he read it he “informed him personally of the great value I placed on the letter notwithstanding his erroneous views of myself, and that sometime I intended to have it framed and posted in some conspicuous place for the benefit of those who might come after men.” [27] Hooker was certainly sincere in this as he not only preserved it but ensured that it was published.

Despite the misgivings of the President and many of his peers, Hooker began a turnaround in the army that changed it for the better. At the beginning of his tenure he inspired confidence among his troops. He reorganized the Cavalry Corps and instituted reforms. Hooker discarded Burnside’s failed “Grand Division” organization and returned to the corps system. He was aided by experienced Corps commanders who had earned their promotions in combat and not due to political patronage, even the political animal Dan Sickles of III Corps had shown his abilities as a leader and commander, gone were the last remnants of McClellan’s regime.

Despite the many positives gained during the reorganization, Hooker made one significant mistake during the reorganization which hurt him at Chancellorsville, he decided to “strip General Hunt of command of the artillery and restrict him to purely administrative duties…he had restored Hunt to command the night of May 3 after the Confederates had driven him out of Chancellorsville,” ensuring that “The advantages traditionally possessed by the Union artillery in the quality of its material and cannon disappeared in this battle through Hooker’s inept handling of his forces.” [28]

Hooker was popular with the men as he conducted reforms which improved their lives. “He took immediate steps to cashier corrupt quartermasters, improve food, clean up the camps and hospitals, grant furloughs, and instill unit pride by creating insignia badges for each corps…Sickness declined, desertions dropped, and a grant of amnesty brought back many AWOLs back into the ranks.” [29] Additionally “paydays were reestablished and new clothing issued…. Boards of inspection searched out and dismissed incompetent officers.[30]

But nothing impacted morale more that his order that “soft bread would henceforth be issued to the troops four times a week. Fresh potatoes and onions were to be issued twice a week, and desiccated vegetables once a week.” [31] The impact of the army commander actually caring for his troops was singularly important and far reaching. One officer wrote home “His ‘soft bead’ order reaches us in a tender spot….” [32] Regimental commanders were ordered to ensure that “regular company cooks went to work, and if there were no company cooks they were instructed to create some, so that the soldier could get some decent meals in place of the intestine-destroying stuff he cooked for himself.” [33] Hooker announced “My men shall eat before I am fed, and before my officers are fed” and he clearly meant it.” [34]

Additionally Hooker reformed training in the army. He knew that bored soldiers were their own worst enemy, and instituted a stringent training regimen that paid dividends on the battlefield. “From morning to night the drill fields rumbled with the tramp of many feet. Officers went to school evenings and the next day went out to maneuver companies, regiments, brigades, and divisions in the tactics just studied.” [35]

Hooker ridded himself of the last vestiges of McClellan’s reliance on the Pinkerton detective agency for his intelligence and created a “Bureau of Military Intelligence, led by Colonel George Sharpe” who “built a network of spies, who soon supplied Hooker with accurate information on Lee’s numerical strength and the unit composition of the Confederate army.” [36] He also reorganized and systematized the Medical department, and “placed it under the supervision of the competent medical director Dr. Jonathan Letterman.” [37]

It was a remarkable turnaround which even impressed his soldiers, his critics, and enemies and his enemies alike. Within weeks, “sick rolls had been reduced, and by April, scurvy had virtually disappeared. A veteran contended that Hooker “is a good man to feed an army for we have lived in the best since he took command that we ever did since we have been in the army.” [38] Darius Couch of Second Corps, who later resigned and became Hooker’s arch-enemy, wrote that Hooker had, “by adopting vigorous measures stopped the almost wholesale desertions, and infused new life and discipline into the army.” [39]

After the disaster at Chancellorsville Hooker was not the same. During that battle it was as if he was two persons. During the campaign Hooker had: “planned his campaign like a master and carried out the first half with great skill, and then when the pinch came he simply folded up. There had been no courage in him, no life, no spark; during most of the battle the army had to all intents and purposes had no commander at all.” [40] Hooker, a slave to his vanity had little capacity for reflection and blamed various corps commanders for the defeat, refusing to take any responsibility for it. Years later, Hooker when asked about the defeat, “knew a rare moment of humility and remarked, “Well, to tell the truth, I just lost confidence in Joe Hooker.” [41]

As such just as Lincoln had predicted there were many, both in the army and without who were clamoring for Hooker’s relief, especially after Hooker refused to take the blame for the defeat and instead blamed his subordinates. The blowback was fierce “the army high command took offense and closed ranks against the general commanding,” [42] and the “dissension between Hooker and his senior generals seethed for weeks.” [43]

Henry_Halleck_by_Scholten,_c1865

Major General Henry Halleck

Halleck, who came to the army’s base at Falmouth to assess the army in wake of the defeat, “set the conspirators to work…called the corps commanders into counsel” and “learned of the great dissatisfaction among the higher officers….” [44] Hooker now found that the same knives which he had used on Burnside, “were now turned on him.” [45] Henry Slocum of XII Corps “went among his fellow corps commanders proposing a coup- a petition the president then and there to dismiss Hooker and put George Gordon Meade, commander of the Fifth Corps in his place” [46] but Meade balked at the idea. Lincoln had heard so much dissention that he wrote Hooker to warn him “that some of your Corps and Division Commanders are not giving you their entire confidence.” [47]

Such activities led to discussions at the White House to see if a new commander should lead the Army of the Potomac. Lincoln did interview John Reynolds of I Corps in early June to see if he wound take command, and Reynolds reportedly turned Lincoln down. Others were approached as well, and some officers even lobbied for the return of McClellan. Under this cloud Hooker went into the Gettysburg campaign.

Hooker telegraphed Lincoln and Halleck on June 5th and requested permission to advance cross the river and told Lincoln that “I am of opinion that it is my duty to pitch into his rear” [48] possibly to threaten Richmond. Lincoln ordered Hooker to put the matter to Halleck, with whom Hooker was on the worst possible terms. Hooker “pressed Halleck to allow him to cross the Rappahannock in force, overwhelming whatever rebel force had been left at Fredericksburg, and then lunging down the line of the Virginia Central toward an almost undefended Richmond.” [49] On the morning of June 6th 1863 Hooker ordered pontoon bridges thrown across the river and sent a division of Sedgwick’s VI Corps to conduct a reconnaissance in force against Hill.

Lincoln and Halleck immediately rejected Hooker’s request. Lincoln “saw the flaw in Hooker’s plan at once” [50] and replied in a very blunt manner: “In one word,” he wrote “I would not take any risk of being entangled upon the river, like an ox jumped half over a fence and liable to be torn by dogs front and rear, without a fair chance to gore one way or kick another.” [51] Halleck replied to Hooker shortly after Lincoln that it would “seem perilous to permit Lee’s main force to move upon the Potomac [River] while your army is attacking an intrenched position on the other side of the Rappahannock.” [52] Lincoln, demonstrating a keen regard for the actual center of gravity of the campaign, told Hooker plainly that “I think Lee’s army and not Richmond, is your objective point.” [53]

The fears of Lincoln and Halleck were well founded. In stopping at Culpepper Lee retained the option of continuing his march to the Shenandoah and the Potomac, or he could rapidly “recall his advanced columns, hammer at Hooker’s right flank, and very possibly administer another defeat even more demoralizing than the one he suffered at Chancellorsville.” [54] Hooker heeded the order and while Hooker maintained his bridgehead over the Rappahannock he made no further move against Hill’s well dug in divisions.

CWP015

Major General J.E.B. Stuart

Meanwhile, J.E.B. Stuart and his Cavalry Corps had been at Brandy Station near Culpepper for two weeks. Culpepper in June was a paradise for the cavalry, and with nearly 10,000 troopers gathered Stuart ordered a celebration, many dignitaries were invited and on June 4th Stuart hosted a grand ball in the county courthouse. On the 5th Stuart staged a grand review of five of his brigades. Bands played as each regiment passed in review and one soldier wrote that it was “One grand magnificent pageant, inspiring enough to make even an old woman feel fightish.” [55] The review ended with a mock charge by the cavalry against the guns of the horse artillery which were firing blank rounds. According to witnesses it was a spectacular event, so realistic and grand that during the final charge that “several ladies fainted, or pretended to faint, in the grandstand which Jeb Stuart had had set up for them along one side of the field.” [56] That was followed by an outdoor ball “lit by soft moonlight and bright bonfires.” [57] Stuart gave an encore performance when Lee arrived on June 8th, minus the grand finale and afterward Lee wrote to his wife that “Stuart was in all his glory.” [58]

Hooker received word from the always vigilant John Buford, of the First Cavalry Division on the night of June 6th that “Lee’s “movable column” was located near Culpepper Court House and that it consisted of Stuart’s three brigades heavily reinforced by Robertson’s, “Grumble” Jones’s, and Jenkins’ brigades.” [59] Hooker digested the information and believed that Stuart’s intent was to raid his own rear areas to disrupt the Army of the Potomac’s logistics and communications. The next day Hooker ordered his newly appointed Cavalry Corps Commander, Major General Alfred Pleasanton to attack Stuart.

After Chancellorsville, Hooker had reorganized the Union cavalry under Pleasanton into three divisions and under three aggressive division commanders, all West Pointers, Brigadier General John Buford, Brigadier General David Gregg and Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick. While Stuart conducted his second grand review for Lee Pleasanton quietly massed his cavalry “opposite Beverly Ford and Kelly’s Ford so as to cross the river in the early morning hours of June 9th and carry out Hooker’s crisp orders “to disperse and destroy” the rebel cavalry reported to be “assembled in the vicinity of Culpepper….” [60] Pleasanton’s cavalry was joined by two mixed brigades of infantry “who had the reputation of being among the best marchers and fighters in the army.” [61] One brigade, commanded by Brigadier General Adelbert Ames consisted of five regiments drawn from XI Corps, XII Corps, and III Corps was attached to Buford’s division. The other brigade, under the command of Brigadier General David Russell was composed of seven regiments drawn from I Corps, II Corps and VI Corps. [62]

Stuart’s orders for June 9th were to “lead his cavalry division across the Rappahannock to screen the northward march of the infantry.” [63] The last thing that Stuart expected was to be surprised by the Federal cavalry which he had grown to treat with distain. Stuart who was at his headquarters “woke to the sound of fighting” [64] as Pleasanton’s divisions crossed the river and moved against the unsuspecting Confederate cavalry brigades.

The resultant action was the largest cavalry engagement of the war. Over 20,000 troopers engaged in an inconclusive see-saw battle that lasted most of the day. Though a draw “the rebels might have been swept from the field had Colonel Alfred N. Duffie, at the head of the Second Division acted aggressively and moved to the sounds of battle.” [65] The “Yankees came with a newfound grit and gave as good as they took.” [66] Porter Alexander wrote that Pleasanton’s troopers “but for bad luck in the killing of Col. Davis, leading the advance, would have probably surprised and captured most of Stuart’s artillery.” [67] Stuart had lost “over 500 men, including two colonels dead,” [68] and a brigade commander, Fitzhugh “Rooney” Lee, General Lee’s son, badly wounded. While recuperating at his wife’s home a few weeks later Lee “was captured by the enemy.” [69] Stuart claimed victory as he lost fewer troops and had taken close to 500 prisoners and maintained control of the battlefield.

But even Confederate officers were critical. Lafayette McLaws of First Corps wrote “our cavalry were surprised yesterday by the enemy and had to do some desperate fighting to retrieve the day… As you will perceive from General Lee’s dispatch that the enemy were driven across the river again. All this is not true because the enemy retired at their leisure, having accomplished what I suppose what they intended.” [70] Captain Charles Blackford of Longtreet’s staff wrote: “The fight at Brandy Station can hardly be called a victory. Stuart was certainly surprised, but for the supreme gallantry of his subordinate officers and men… it would have been a day of disaster and disgrace….” The Chief of the Bureau of War in Richmond, Robert H.G. Kean wrote “Stuart is so conceited that he got careless- his officers were having a frolic…” [71] Brigadier General Wade Hampton had the never to criticize his chief in his after action report and after the war recalled “Stuart managed badly that day, but I would not say so publicly.” [72]

The Confederate press was even more damning in its criticism of Stuart papers called it “a disastrous fight,” a “needless slaughter,” [73]and the Richmond Examiner scolded Stuart in words that cut deeply into Stuart’s pride and vanity:

The more the circumstances of the late affair at Brandy Station are considered, the less pleasant do they appear. If this was an isolated case, it might be excused under the convenient head of accident or chance. But the puffed up cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia has twice, if not three times, surprised since the battles of December, and such repeated accidents can be regarded as nothing but the necessary consequences of negligence and bad management. If the war was a tournament, invented and supported for the pleasure of a few vain and weak-headed officers, these disasters might be dismissed with compassion, But the country pays dearly for the blunders which encourage the enemy to overrun and devastate the land, with a cavalry which is daily learning to despise the mounted troops of the Confederacy…” [74]

Major General Dorsey Pender waxed philosophically about the criticism of Stuart in a letter to his wife saying “I suppose it is all right that Stuart should get all the blame, for when anything handsome is done he gets all the credit.” [75] Stuart reacted angrily to the criticism; his vanity was such that it was impossible. Stuart denied being surprised and his Chief of Staff; Major Henry McClellan wrote “He could never see or acknowledge …that he was worsted in an engagement.” [76]

But the battle was more significant than the number of casualties inflicted or who controlled the battlefield at the end of the day. Stuart had been surprised by an aggressively led Union Cavalry force. The Union troopers fought a stubborn and fierce battle and retired in good order. Stuart did not appreciate it but the battle was a watershed, it signaled the beginning of the end of the previous dominance of the Confederate Cavalry arm over their Union opponents.

Henry McClellan wrote that Brandy Station “made the Federal cavalry. Up to that time confessedly inferior to the Southern horsemen, they gained on this day that confidence in themselves and in their commanders which enabled them to contest so fiercely   the subsequent battle-fields….” [77] The Richmond Examiner noted “The enemy is evidently determined to employ his cavalry extensively, and has spared no pains to perfect that arm.[78] That determination to perfect the Union cavalry was something that in less than a years’ time would cost Stuart his life when his outnumbered and ill troopers met Phil Sheridan’s well led, trained and equipped troops at Yellow Tavern outside of Richmond on May 11th 1864.

The action at Brandy Station delayed Lee’s movement by a day. However, Stuart’s repulse of Pleasanton’s force did enable Lee’s Army to make its northward movement undetected by Hooker who was still trying to divine what Lee was up to and was “slow, even reluctant, to react to Lee’s advance.” [79] Lee’s initial move to break contact with the Federal Army and keep his movements and intentions secret was an excellent example of deception.

ewell

Major General Richard Ewell

Ewell’s Corps led the march of the army north on the morning of June 10th and joined by Jenkins’ cavalry brigade entered the Shenandoah Valley by way of the Chester Gap on June 12th. In two days of marching his “columns covered over forty-five miles.” [80] On the 13th Ewell was near Winchester where 6,000 soldiers under the command of Major General Robert Milroy were garrisoned. Ewell’s advanced troops skirmished with them on June 13th, and on the 14th Ewell concentrated his corps to attack Milroy’s badly exposed division. As he did so Lincoln and Halleck attempted to get Milroy to withdraw to Harper’s Ferry and for Hooker to do something to attempt to relieve Milroy.

But Hooker was “troubled by indecision” [81] and did nothing. Ewell commenced his attack at about 5:00 PM, and deployed Johnson’s division in an ambush position north of the city to catch Milroy if he attempted to withdraw. The battle, now known as the Second Battle of Winchester the battle was a complete rout. Hit by Ewell’s forces “which swiftly and effectively broke through his outer lines,” [82] Milroy attempted to retreat “northwestward in the darkness, only to be intercepted at dawn by Johnson.” [83] The Second Corps captured “captured 23 cannon, 300 wagons loaded with supplies and ammunition, and nearly 4,000 prisoners.” [84] Milroy and his survivors retreated to Harper’s Ferry where he was “presently removed from command by Lincoln, but that was a superfluous gesture, since practically all of his command had been removed from him by Ewell.” [85] Ewell’s forces lost just 50 killed and 236 wounded.

Ewell’s decisive victory at Winchester “was one of the most swift, total, and bloodless Confederate victories of the war.” [86] The victory “cleared the lower Shenandoah Valley of most Federal forces and paved the way for Lee’s army to march north into Maryland and then into Pennsylvania.” [87] Ewell had been brilliant to this point, the victory at Second Winchester and the skill with which he had conducted his operations had “removed lingering doubts about his ability to carry on the tradition of “Stonewall” Jackson, as well as about his physical capacity, after the loss of a leg, to endure the rigors of campaigning.” [88] The Richmond Daily Dispatch that Ewell “has indeed caught the mantle of the ascended Jackson. Brilliantly has he re-enacted the scenes of the spring of ’62, on the same theatre.[89]

Ewell did not waste time lingering at Winchester. The next day he sent Jenkins with his brigade across the Potomac to Chambersburg Pennsylvania. Rodes division crossed the Potomac on the 16th “for a crossing at Williamsport where a halt was called to allow the other two divisions to catch up for a combined advance into Pennsylvania.” [90]

Longstreet’s First Corps moved next and advanced east of the Blue Ridge in conjunction with Stuart’s cavalry division screening the rest of the army from Hooker. Longstreet “set out for Ashby’s and Snicker’s Gaps with the bulk of Stuart’s cavalry covering his right flank.” [91] By the 17th of June Longstreet’s and Stuart’s troops had cleared the Blue Ridge, securing the vital gaps; however, Longstreet’s advance “was considerably slowed down by lack of supplies” [92] an issue that began to cause Lee, advancing behind Ewell, considerable concern. The once bountiful Shenandoah Valley had been devastated by two years of war. Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Fremantle, a British observed wrote “All fences have been destroyed, and numberless farms burned, their chimneys alone left standing….No animals are grazing and it is almost uncultivated.” [93]

But “Lee’s army was now stretched out from Hagerstown to Culpepper, a distance of seventy-five miles; yet Hooker did nothing.” [94] Lincoln realized that the dispersed Confederate army was vulnerable and telegraphed Hooker “if the head of Lee’s army is at Martinsburg and the tail of it on the Plank road between Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, the animal must be very slim somewhere. Could you not break him?” [95]

Hooker was slow to appreciate what Lee was doing and the “concealing topography of the region greatly favored Lee’s offensive operations…and Lee was planning on using both the Shenandoah and Loudoun valleys to conceal his forces and confuse his enemies.”[96] In this Lee had succeeded admirably. Finally on June 13th Hooker prodded by Lincoln and Halleck finally moved the Army of the Potomac to a position “near the Orange and Alexandria Railroad near Washington” [97] where it could defend Washington in case Lee was to make a thrust at the Federal capitol. The march from Fredericksburg was ordeal for his soldiers. “It had not rained for more than a month, thick clouds of dust enveloped the columns as the sun burned the air. Men drained their canteens, and water was scarce. Hundreds collapsed from sunstroke.” [98]

Hooker now informed Lincoln and Halleck that from now on his operations “would be governed by the movements of the enemy.” In doing so he “admitted his loss of initiative to Lee and his reluctance or inability to suggest any effective countermoves to the enemy’s plan.” [99]

As the army gathered near Dumfries on June 17th, Hooker who was completely lost as to Lee’s intentions and clearly out of his league was also chose to renew his personal battle with Halleck and Lincoln. Hooker’s Chief of Staff General Dan Butterfield, and a staunch Hooker partisan remarked “We cannot go boggling around until we know what we are going after.” [100] The Provost Marshall of the Army of the Potomac Brigadier General Marsena Patrick was not so generous and critically noted that “Hancock is running the Marching and Hooker has the role of a subordinate- He acts like a man without a plan and is entirely at loss at what to do, or how to match the enemy, or counteract his movements.” [101]

During the march Hooker continued his feud with Halleck and Lincoln, oblivious to the fact that “his contretemps with Washington was costing him respect and credibility.” [102] Navy Secretary Gideon Welles after talking with Lincoln wrote in his diary, “I came away from the War Department painfully impressed. After recent events, Hooker cannot have the confidence which is essential to success, and which is all-important to the commander in the field.” [103]

Hooker however, continued to make matters worse for himself and wrote Lincoln on June 16th, a thinly veiled attempt to have Halleck relieved:

“You have been aware, Mr. President” he telegraphed, “that I have not enjoyed the confidence of the major-general commanding the army, and I can assure you so long as this continues we may look in vain for success, especially as future operations will require our relations to be more dependent on each other than heretofore.” [104]

Lincoln was not to be trifled with by his demanding yet befuddled subordinate. He sent a telegraph to Hooker at 10:00 PM on the 16th which rankled Hooker even the more:

“To remove all misunderstanding I now place you in the strict military relation to General Halleck of a commander of one of the armies to the general-in-chief of all of the armies. I have not intended differently, but as it seems to be differently understood I shall direct him to give you orders and for you to obey him.” [105]

While the drama between Hooker, Halleck and Lincoln played on there were a series of fierce cavalry clashes west of Washington between June 17th and June 21st as Pleasanton’s troops kept assailing the Confederate flank in order to ascertain what Lee’s army was doing. As the Federal cavalry probed the gaps in the Blue Ridge they were confronted by Stuart’s cavalry. At Aldie on June 17th, Middleburg on June 19th and at Upperville on June 21st Stuart’s and Pleasanton’s troopers engaged “in a series of mounted charges and dismounted fighting. The Yankees showed the same grit and valor as they had at Brandy Station, pressing their attacks against the Rebels.” [106]

At Upperville Pleasanton’s troopers “pressed Stuart’s cavalry so hard that Lee ordered McLaws’ division of Longstreet’s Corps to hold Ashby’s Gap, and he momentarily halted Major General Richard Anderson’s division of Hill’s corps on its way to Shepherdstown.” [107] Stuart’s men were successful in protecting the gaps and ensuring that the Federal troopers did not penetrate them, but “Pleasanton learned, however, from prisoners and local citizens, “The main body of the rebel infantry is in the Shenandoah Valley.” [108]

Pleasanton for some unexplained reason thought that this meant that the Confederates were heading toward Pittsburgh. Hooker “viewed it as a raid” and again proposed an overland advance against Richmond, which was again rejected by Lincoln. The President ordered Hooker: “If he comes toward the Upper Potomac, follow on his flank and on his inside track, shortening your line whilst he lengthens his. Fight him too when the opportunity offers. If he stays where he is, fret him, fret him and fret him.” [109]

As the series of clashes occurred on the Confederate flank Ewell’s Second Corps, followed by Hill’s Third Corps advanced into Pennsylvania. A general panic ensued in many places with cries going out for Lincoln to call up militia to defend the state. The panic had begun when Ewell crushed Milroy’s garrison and crossed the Potomac, and was fueled by the actions of Jenkins’ troops, in occupied Chambersburg, who rounded up any blacks that remained in the city. Most blacks, even freedmen fled before the advancing Confederates, and with good reason. “Some fifty blacks were formed into a coffle and marched south to be sold into bondage.” [110] Gideon Welles wrote in Washington D.C.: “Something of a panic pervades the city this evening. Singular rumors of Rebel advances into Maryland. It is said that they have reached Hagerstown, and some of them have penetrated as far as Chambersburg.” [111] Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtain, a former Whig now a Republican aligned with Lincoln’s policies “was in political trouble now,” [112] was pressing the Federal government for help and “Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 100,000 militia volunteers form Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia, to serve for six months or until the emergency had passed.” [113]

By June 23rd the head of the Bureau of Military Information, Colonel George Sharpe had deduced that all of Ewell’s corps was in Pennsylvania marching north and that Hill’s corps was across the Potomac., and “in one of those sudden moments of brutal clarity, George Sharpe realized that everything pointed to the conclusion that Lee’s entire army, or most of it, was north of the Potomac.” [114] While Sharpe did not realize that he was incorrect in the location of Longstreet’s corps, which was still helping to hold and screen the gaps on the Blue Ridge, he had correctly deduced Lee’s intentions.

It took time but Hooker belatedly on June 24th began to move his army to Frederick. As the Army of the Potomac crossed its namesake river between June 25th and 27th over a vast pontoon bridge, Hooker made one last attempt to salvage his reputation, and did not believe that Lincoln was actually trying to help mediate his dispute with Halleck. Hooker made a quick trip into Washington on the 23rd of June. He met with Lincoln and was successful in getting Halleck to give him nearly 15,000 reinforcements drawn from the District of Washington, drawing the ire of its commander Major General Samuel Heintzelman, another of his political enemies. But the visit did not help his situation, and “word began to spread that Hooker was drinking a great deal.” [115]

But Hooker opened the door to more trouble by demanding that he be given command and control over the garrison at Harpers Ferry, allegedly to use in an operation to cut off Lee’s line of supply and communication in Western Maryland. Hooker attempted to bypass Halleck yet again and sent orders to affect his course of action to Slocum of XII Corps and William French at Harper’s Ferry, “yet Hooker told Washington nothing of his plan” and then asked Halleck why Harper’s Ferry could not be abandoned, and requested its troops without telling him how he would use the garrison. Hooker then informed Halleck that he “would go to Harper’s Ferry the next day and inspect the place.” [116] Hooker evidently believed that he could still force his will on Halleck with a coupe d ’main.

Halleck refused Hooker and shrewdly had seen the request coming. Halleck told Hooker “that the fortified heights at Harpers Ferry…”have always been regarded as an important point by to be held by us…I cannot approve their abandonment, except in the case of absolute necessity” [117] and directed the Major General William H. French, the commanding officer of the Harper’s Ferry garrison “Pay no attention to Hooker’s orders.” [118] When Hooker went to see French in Harper’s Ferry and saw the dispatch he was furious. In his anger Hooker “told Herman Haupt during the railroad coordinator’s visit that he would do nothing to oppose Lee’s invasion without specific orders. He also continued to tell Halleck, Stanton, and Lincoln that he wanted Lee to go north so he could go after Richmond.” [119]

The order to French was Halleck’s way of baiting Hooker to react badly. Halleck figured that Hooker would consider it the last straw, which was exactly what the impulsive Hooker did. Hooker then played his last card and wired Halleck an ultimatum, which in a sense he was using as a “club to bully Halleck into giving him a free hand in questions of strategy” and it is “questionable whether he expected Lincoln to accept his resignation.[120]

“My original instructions require me to cover Harper’s Ferry and Washington. I have now imposed on me, in addition to an enemy in my front more than my number. I beg to be understood, respectfully, but firmly that I am unable to comply with this condition with the means at my disposal, and earnestly request that I be relieved from the position I occupy.” [121]

Halleck sent Hooker a brief message; simply stating “Your dispatch has been duly referred to the executive for action.” [122] He then took the letter to Stanton and Lincoln and Lincoln wasted little time in relieving Hooker, though he was not happy about having to do so in the middle of a campaign. Lincoln had two choices, “he could send him into battle with his self-doubts and suspicions intact, or he could accept it and risk the political and military consequences that would accompany an abrupt change in leadership.” [123] In less than half an hour Lincoln told Halleck and Stanton to “Accept his resignation. Before midnight, War Secretary Edwin Stanton’s own chief of staff, James Hardie, was on his way by train from Washington with Lincoln’s order removing Hooker from command.”   [124]

In the end, late in the night of June 27th Lincoln chose the latter, relieved Hooker, and appointed Major General George Gordon Meade, commanding officer of V Corps as the new commander of the Army of the Potomac. He explained the decision to the cabinet the next morning; Gideon Welles wrote that Lincoln said “he had, for several days as the conflict became imminent, observed in Hooker the same failings that were witnessed in McClellan after the Battle of Antietam. – A want of alacrity to obey, and a greedy call for more troops which could not, and ought not be taken from other points….:” [125]

Hooker’s relief was a direct result of his “contretemps with General-in Chief Halleck, but it was the general’s revolt that set the stage for it. With virtually no support from his chief lieutenants…Hooker was pushed into a precarious position.” [126]

Despite Hooker’s lackluster performance during the campaign, his failings as a field commander, and his poor relationships with Lincoln, Halleck and many of his corps commanders, Hooker had made significant contributions to the Army of the Potomac and the nation:

“Whatever his mistakes, Hooker’s record as a military administrator ranks him near the top, for he refashioned the army into an effective fighting machine. He saved it from disintegration, gradually filled its ranks to peak strength, inflated its morale, and put it in a superb condition for the start of the spring campaign.” [127]

During his tenure of command, “the army had come of age. It was a professional army now in all but name.” [128] He had assumed command when the army was at its lowest fortune after Fredericksburg, “he instituted reform and restored their fighting spirit.” [129] His reorganization of the Cavalry Corps under solid officers was critical in the campaign and paid dividends for the rest of the war. His creation of the Bureau of Military Information was instrumental in providing George Meade at Gettysburg with accurate information about Lee’s army that he used to his advantage in conducting the battle. In spite of his flaws, Hooker had, even after the defeat at Chancellorsville kept the army together and in good fighting trim, even if his soldiers no longer believed in him, they believed in themselves.

During the opening weeks of the Gettysburg campaign, albeit through the prodding of Lincoln he had kept his army between Lee and Washington. But throughout the campaign Hooker seemed “plagued with uncertainty as to what he should do and what were his true military objectives. The tone of his correspondence with Washington authorities was continually querulous and angry.” [130] Hooker’s justified paranoia of Halleck and his and personal insecurity ensured that he made decisions that caused Lincoln to have even more reservations about his ability to command the army, and confront Robert E. Lee. Some have speculated that his recalcitrance in following Lincoln’s orders to confront Lee during the march was because he did not want to face Lee in battle once again. None of those factors can be ignored when assessing Hooker’s performance during his tenure of command of the Army of the Potomac. It was probably fortunate for the Union that Hooker asked to be relieved. His lack of confidence to face Lee in battle would have probably ensured defeat, but his reforms had set the army and its new commander up for success.

While the high drama in Washington and Pennsylvania unfolded Robert E. Lee, after an excellent beginning to his campaign was beginning to experience a drama of his own which would decisively impact his invasion of Pennsylvania.

Notes

[1] Sears, Stephen W. Gettysburg, Mariner Books, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston and New York, 2003 p.59

[2] Foote, Shelby, The Civil War, A Narrative. Volume Two Fredericksburg to Meridian Random House, New York 1963 p.436

[3] Trudeau, Noah Andre. Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage, Harper Collins Publishers, New York 2002 p.25

[4] Wert, Jeffry D. A Glorious Army: Robert E. Lee’s Triumph 1862-1863 Simon and Schuster, New York and London 2011 p.218

[5] Alexander, Edward Porter. Fighting for the Confederacy: The Personal Recollections of General Edward Porter Alexander edited by Gary Gallagher University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill 1989 p.221

[6] Ibid. Wert A Glorious Army p.219

[7] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.60

[8] Korda, Michael. Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee Harper Collins Publishers, New York 2014 p.530

[9] Ibid. Foote The Civil War, A Narrative. Volume Two p.436

[10] Wert, Jeffry D. The Sword of Lincoln: The Army of the Potomac Simon and Schuster, New York and London 2005 p.260

[11] Dowdy, Clifford. Lee and His Men at Gettysburg: The Death of a Nation Skyhorse Publishing, New York 1986, originally published as Death of a Nation Knopf, New York 1958 p.37

[12] Ibid. Wert The Sword of Lincoln p.74

[13] Jordan, David M. Winfield Scott Hancock: A Soldier’s Life Indian University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis 1988 p.67

[14] Marszalek, John F. Commander of All of Lincoln’s Armies: A Life of General Henry W. Halleck The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA and London 2004 p.165

[15] Guelzo Allen C. Fateful Lightening: A New History of the Civil War Era and Reconstruction Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York 2012 p.331

[16] Huntington, Tom Searching for George Gordon Meade: The Forgotten Victor of Gettysburg Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg PA 2013 p.127

[17] Catton, Bruce The Army of the Potomac: Glory Road Doubleday and Company, Garden City New York, 1952 p.7

[18] Ibid. Wert The Sword of Lincoln pp.74-75

[19] Ibid. Guelzo Fateful Lightening p.331

[20] Bates, Samuel P. Hooker’s Comments on Chancellorsville in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War Volume III, The Tide Shifts. Edited by Robert Underwood Johnson and Clarence Clough Buel Castle, Secaucus NJ p.217

[21] Ibid. Foote The Civil War, A Narrative. Volume Two p.136

[22] Sears, Stephen W. Controversies and Commanders Mariner Books, Houghton-Mifflin Company, Boston and New York 1999 p.150

[23] Ibid. Sears Controversies and Commanders p.157

[24] Ibid. Wert The Sword of Lincoln p.219

[25] Ibid. Foote The Civil War, A Narrative. Volume Two pp.132-133

[26] Ibid. Foote The Civil War, A Narrative. Volume Two p.133

[27] Sears, Stephen W. Chancellorsville Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston and New York 1996 p.62

[28] Coddington, Edwin B. The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command, A Touchstone Book, Simon and Schuster New York, 1968 p.31

[29] McPherson, James. The Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York 1988 p.133

[30] Ibid. Sears. Chancellorsville p.73

[31] Ibid. Sears Chancellorsville p.73

[32] Ibid. Sears Chancellorsville p.73

[33] Ibid. Catton Glory Road p.143

[34] Ibid. Sears Chancellorsville p.73

[35] Ibid. Catton Glory Road p.145

[36] Ibid. Wert The Sword of Lincoln p.229

[37] Ibid. Wert The Sword of Lincoln p.225

[38] Ibid. Wert The Sword of Lincoln pp.225-226

[39] Ibid. Sears Controversies and Commanders p.157

[40] Ibid. Catton Glory Road p.210

[41] Ibid. Catton Glory Road p.211

[42] Ibid. Sears Controversies and Commanders p.158

[43] Ibid. Wert The Sword of Lincoln p.256

[44] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.19

[45] Guelzo, Allen C. Gettysburg: The Last Invasion Vintage Books a Division of Random House, New York 2013 p.28

[46] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.19

[47] Ibid. Guelzo. Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.28

[48] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.61

[49] Ibid. Guelzo. Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.50

[50] Ibid. Wert The Sword of Lincoln p.260

[51] Fuller, J.F.C. Decisive Battles of the U.S.A. 1776-1918 University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln 2007 copyright 1942 The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals p.223

[52] Ibid Trudeau Gettysburg a Testing of Courage p.26

[53] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.50

[54] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.53

[55] Davis, Burke J.E.B. Stuart: The Last Cavalier Random House, New York 1957 p.304

[56] Ibid. Foote The Civil War, A Narrative. Volume Two p.437

[57] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.63

[58] Ibid. Wert A Glorious Army p.221

[59] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.54

[60] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.64

[61] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.54

[62] Petruzzi, J. David and Stanley, Steven The Gettysburg Campaign in Numbers and Losses: Synopses, Orders of Battle, Strengths, Casualties and Maps, June 9 – July 1, 1863 Savas Beatie LLC, El Dorado Hills CA 2012 p.7

[63] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.64

[64] Ibid. Davis JEB Stuart p.306

[65] Ibid. Wert The Sword of Lincoln p.261

[66] Wert, Jeffry D. General James Longstreet The Confederacy’s Most Controversial Soldier, A Touchstone Book, Simon and Schuster, New York and London 1993 p. 251

[67] Ibid. Alexander Fighting for the Confederacy p.223

[68] Ibid. Davis JEB Stuart p.310

[69] Ibid. Wert A Glorious Army p.221

[70] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.59

[71] Ibid. Davis JEB Stuart p.310

[72] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.60

[73] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.57

[74] Ibid. Davis JEB Stuart pp.311-312

[75] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.73

[76] Ibid. Wert A Glorious Army p.221

[77] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.74

[78] Ibid. Davis JEB Stuart p.312

[79] Ibid. Wert General James Longstreet p.251

[80] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.73

[81] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.81

[82] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.88

[83] Ibid. Foote The Civil War, A Narrative. Volume Two p.440

[84] Ibid. Wert A Glorious Army p.222

[85] Ibid. Foote The Civil War, A Narrative. Volume Two p.440

[86] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.62

[87] Ibid. Petruzzi and Stanley The Gettysburg Campaign in Numbers and Losses p.20

[88] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.89

[89] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.62

[90] Ibid. Foote The Civil War, A Narrative. Volume Two p.440

[91] Ibid. Fuller Decisive Battles of the U.S.A. 1776-1918 p.224

[92] Ibid. Fuller Decisive Battles of the U.S.A. 1776-1918 p.225

[93] Ibid. Korda Clouds of Glory p.537

[94] Ibid. Fuller Decisive Battles of the U.S.A. 1776-1918 p.224

[95] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion pp.64-65

[96] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.85

[97] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.71

[98] Ibid. Wert The Sword of Lincoln p.263

[99] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.71

[100] Ibid. Wert The Sword of Lincoln p.264

[101] Ibid. Trudeau Gettysburg a Testing of Courage pp. 53-54

[102] Ibid. Trudeau Gettysburg a Testing of Courage p.53

[103] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.88

[104] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.88

[105] Ibid. Trudeau Gettysburg a Testing of Courage p.54

[106] Ibid. Wert The Sword of Lincoln p.264

[107] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.79

[108] Ibid. Wert A Glorious Army p.224

[109] Ibid. Wert A Glorious Army p.224

[110] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.82

[111] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.82

[112] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.101

[113] Ibid. Wert The Sword of Lincoln pp.264-265

[114] Ibid. Trudeau Gettysburg a Testing of Courage p.66

[115] Ibid. Trudeau Gettysburg a Testing of Courage p.63

[116] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.120

[117] Ibid. Trudeau Gettysburg a Testing of Courage p.93

[118] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.84

[119] Ibid. Marszalek, Commander of All of Lincoln’s Armies p.175

[120] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.131

[121] Ibid. Marsalek Commander of All of Lincoln’s Armies p.175

[122] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.123

[123] Ibid. Trudeau Gettysburg a Testing of Courage p.98

[124] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.84

[125] Ibid. Wert The Sword of Lincoln p.266

[126] Ibid. Sears Controversies and Commanders p.162

[127] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.31

[128] Ibid. Catton Glory Road p.217

[129] Ibid. Wert The Sword of Lincoln p.266

[130] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.133

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Lee Moves North and the Battle of Brandy Station

brandy station

Note: I will be heading back to Gettysburg for another Staff Ride this Friday and I am continuing to revise my course materials. This is another part of my Gettysburg series, and a revision to a hastily done section that I wrote when I first took over for conducting the classes and associate trip. 

Movement to attain operational reach and maneuver are two critical factors in joint operations. In the time since the American Civil War the distances that forces move to engage the enemy, or maneuver to employ fires to destroy his forces have greatly increased. Movement may be part of an existing Campaign Plan or Contingency Plan developed at Phase 0; it also may be part of a crisis action plan developed in the midst of a campaign. Lee’s movement to get to Gettysburg serves as an example of the former, however, since his forces were already in contact with the Army of the Potomac along the Rappahannock and he was reacting to what he felt was a strategic situation that could not be changed but by going on the offensive that it has the feel of a Crisis Action Plan. Within either context other factors come into play: clarity of communications and orders, security, intelligence, logistics and even more importantly the connection between operational movement and maneuver; the Center of Gravity of the enemy, and national strategy. Since we have already discussed how Lee and the national command authority of the Confederacy got to this point we will now discuss the how that decision played in the operational and tactical decisions of Lee and his commanders as the Army of Northern Virginia began the summer campaign and the corresponding actions of Joseph Hooker and the his superiors in Washington.

“One of the fine arts of the military craft is disengaging one’s army from a guarding army without striking sparks and igniting battle.” [1] On June 3rd 1863 Robert E. Lee began to move his units west, away from Fredericksburg to begin his campaign to take the war to the North. He began his exfiltration moving Second Corps under Richard Ewell and First Corps under James Longstreet west “up the south bank of the Rappahannock to Culpepper, near which Hood and Pickett had been halted on their return from Suffolk.” [2] Rodes’ division of Second Corps followed on June 4th with Anderson and Early on June 5th. Lee left the three divisions of A.P. Hill’s Third Corps at Fredericksburg to guard against any sudden advance by Hooker’s Army of the Potomac toward Richmond. Lee instructed Hill to “do everything possible “to deceive the enemy, and keep him in ignorance of any change in the disposition of the army.” [3]

The army was tremendously confident as it marched away from the war ravaged, dreary and desolate battlefields along the Rappahannock “A Captain in the 1st Virginia averred, “Never before has the army been in such a fine condition, so well disciplined and under such complete control.” [4] Porter Alexander wrote that he felt “pride and confidence…in my splendid battalion, as it filed out of the field into the road, with every chest & and ammunition wagon filled, & and every horse in fair order, & every detail fit for a campaign.” [5] Another officer wrote to his father, “I believe there is a general feeling of gratification in the army at the prospect of active operations.” [6]

Lee’s plan was to “shift two-thirds of his army to the northwest and past Hooker’s flank, while A.P. Hill’s Third Corps remained entrenched at Fredericksburg to observe Hooker and perhaps fix him in place long enough for the army to gain several marches on the Federals.” [7] In an organizational and operational sense that Lee’s army after as major of battle as Chancellorsville “was able to embark on such an ambitious flanking march to the west and north around the right of the army of the Potomac….” [8]

However, Lee’s movement did not go unnoticed; Hooker’s aerial observers in their hot air balloons “were up and apparently spotted the movement.” [9] But Hooker was unsure what it meant. He initially suspected that “Lee intended to turn the right flank of the Union army as he had done in the Second Bull Run Campaign, either by interposing his army between Washington and the Federals or by crossing the Potomac River.” [10] Lee halted at Culpepper from which he “could either march westward over the Blue Ridge or, if Hooker moved, recontract at the Rappahannock River.” [11]

Hooker telegraphed Lincoln and Halleck on June 5th and requested permission to advance cross the river and told Lincoln that “I am of opinion that it is my duty to pitch into his rear” [12] possibly threatening Richmond. Lincoln ordered Hooker to put the matter to Halleck, with whom Hooker was on the worst possible terms. Hooker “pressed Halleck to allow him to cross the Rappahannock in force, overwhelming whatever rebel force had been left at Fredericksburg, and then lunging down the line of the Virginia Central toward an almost undefended Richmond.” [13] On the morning of June 6th Hooker ordered pontoon bridges thrown across the river and sent a division of Sedgwick’s VI Corps to conduct a reconnaissance in force against Hill.

Lincoln and Halleck immediately rejected Hooker’s request. Lincoln “saw the flaw in Hooker’s plan at once” [14] and replied in a very blunt manner: “In one word,” he wrote “I would not take any risk of being entangled upon the river, like an ox jumped half over a fence and liable to be torn by dogs front and rear, without a fair chance to gore one way or kick another.” [15] Halleck replied to Hooker shortly after Lincoln that it would “seem perilous to permit Lee’s main force to move upon the Potomac [River] while your army is attacking an intrenched position on the other side of the Rappahannock.” [16] Lincoln, demonstrating a keen regard for the actual center of gravity of the campaign, told Hooker plainly that “I think Lee’s army and not Richmond, is your objective point.” [17]

The fears of Lincoln and Halleck were well founded. In stopping at Culpepper Lee retained the option of continuing his march to the Shenandoah and the Potomac, or he could rapidly “recall his advanced columns, hammer at Hooker’s right flank, and very possibly administer another defeat even more demoralizing than the one he suffered at Chancellorsville.” [18] Hooker heeded the order and while Hooker maintained his bridgehead over the Rappahannock he made no further move against Hill’s well dug in divisions.

Meanwhile, J.E.B. Stuart and his Cavalry Corps had been at Brandy Station near Culpepper for two weeks. Culpepper in June was a paradise for the cavalry, and with nearly 10,000 troopers gathered Stuart ordered a celebration, many dignitaries were invited and on June 4th Stuart hosted a grand ball in the county courthouse. On the 5th Stuart staged a grand review of five of his brigades. Bands played as each regiment passed in review and one soldier wrote that it was “One grand magnificent pageant, inspiring enough to make even an old woman feel fightish.” [19] The review ended with a mock charge by the cavalry against the guns of the horse artillery which were firing blank rounds. According to witnesses it was a spectacular event, so realistic and grand that during the final charge that “several ladies fainted, or pretended to faint, in the grandstand which Jeb Stuart had had set up for them along one side of the field.” [20] That was followed by an outdoor ball “lit by soft moonlight and bright bonfires.” [21] Stuart gave an encore performance when Lee arrived on June 8th, minus the grand finale and afterward Lee wrote to his wife that “Stuart was in all his glory.” [22]

Hooker received word from the always vigilant John Buford, of the First Cavalry Division on the night of June 6th that “Lee’s “movable column” was located near Culpepper Court House and that it consisted of Stuart’s three brigades heavily reinforced by Robertson’s, “Grumble” Jones’s, and Jenkins’ brigades.” [23] Hooker digested the information and believed that Stuart’s intent was to raid his own rear areas to disrupt the Army of the Potomac’s logistics and communications. The next day Hooker ordered his newly appointed Cavalry Corps Commander, Major General Alfred Pleasanton to attack Stuart.

After Chancellorsville, Hooker had reorganized the Union cavalry under Pleasanton into three divisions and under three aggressive division commanders, all West Pointers, Brigadier General John Buford, Brigadier General David Gregg and Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick. While Stuart conducted his second grand review for Lee Pleasanton quietly massed his cavalry “opposite Beverly Ford and Kelly’s Ford so as to cross the river in the early morning hours of June 9th and carry out Hooker’s crisp orders “to disperse and destroy” the rebel cavalry reported to be “assembled in the vicinity of Culpepper….” [24] Pleasanton’s cavalry was joined by two mixed brigades of infantry “who had the reputation of being among the best marchers and fighters in the army.” [25] One brigade, commanded by Brigadier General Adelbert Ames consisted of five regiments drawn from XI Corps, XII Corps, and III Corps was attached to Buford’s division. The other brigade, under the command of Brigadier General David Russell was composed of seven regiments drawn from I Corps, II Corps and VI Corps. [26]

Stuart’s orders for June 9th were to “lead his cavalry division across the Rappahannock to screen the northward march of the infantry.” [27] The last thing that Stuart expected was to be surprised by the Federal cavalry which he had grown to treat with distain. Stuart who was at his headquarters “woke to the sound of fighting” [28] as Pleasanton’s divisions crossed the river and moved against the unsuspecting Confederate cavalry brigades.

The resultant action was the largest cavalry engagement of the war. Over 20,000 troopers engaged in an inconclusive see-saw battle that lasted most of the day. Though a draw “the rebels might have been swept from the field had Colonel Alfred N. Duffie, at the head of the Second Division acted aggressively and moved to the sounds of battle.” [29] The “Yankees came with a newfound grit and gave as good as they took.” [30] Porter Alexander wrote that Pleasanton’s troopers “but for bad luck in the killing of Col. Davis, leading the advance, would have probably surprised and captured most of Stuart’s artillery.” [31] Stuart had lost “over 500 men, including two colonels dead,” [32] and a brigade commander, Fitzhugh “Rooney” Lee, General Lee’s son, badly wounded. While recuperating at his wife’s home a few weeks later Lee “was captured by the enemy.” [33] Stuart claimed victory as he lost fewer troops and had taken close to 500 prisoners and maintained control of the battlefield.

But even Confederate officers were critical. Lafayette McLaws of First Corps wrote “our cavalry were surprised yesterday by the enemy and had to do some desperate fighting to retrieve the day… As you will perceive from General Lee’s dispatch that the enemy were driven across the river again. All this is not true because the enemy retired at their leisure, having accomplished what I suppose what they intended.” [34] Captain Charles Blackford of Longtreet’s staff wrote: “The fight at Brandy Station can hardly be called a victory. Stuart was certainly surprised, but for the supreme gallantry of his subordinate officers and men… it would have been a day of disaster and disgrace….” The Chief of the Bureau of War in Richmond, Robert H.G. Kean wrote “Stuart is so conceited that he got careless- his officers were having a frolic…” [35] Brigadier General Wade Hampton had the never to criticize his chief in his after action report and after the war recalled “Stuart managed badly that day, but I would not say so publicly.” [36]

The Confederate press was even more damning in its criticism of Stuart papers called it “a disastrous fight,” a “needless slaughter,” [37]and the Richmond Examiner scolded Stuart in words that cut deeply into Stuart’s pride and vanity:

The more the circumstances of the late affair at Brandy Station are considered, the less pleasant do they appear. If this was an isolated case, it might be excused under the convenient head of accident or chance. But the puffed up cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia has twice, if not three times, surprised since the battles of December, and such repeated accidents can be regarded as nothing but the necessary consequences of negligence and bad management. If the war was a tournament, invented and supported for the pleasure of a few vain and weak-headed officers, these disasters might be dismissed with compassion, But the country pays dearly for the blunders which encourage the enemy to overrun and devastate the land, with a cavalry which is daily learning to despise the mounted troops of the Confederacy…” [38]

But the battle was more significant than the number of casualties inflicted or who controlled the battlefield at the end of the day. Stuart had been surprised by an aggressively led Union Cavalry force. The Union troopers fought a stubborn and fierce battle and retired in good order. Stuart did not appreciate it but the battle was a watershed, it ended the previous dominance of the Confederate Cavalry arm. It was something that in less than a years’ time would cost him his life.

Notes

[1] Sears, Stephen W. Gettysburg, Mariner Books, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston and New York, 2003 p.59

[2] Foote, Shelby, The Civil War, A Narrative. Volume Two Fredericksburg to Meridian Random House, New York 1963 p.436

[3] Trudeau, Noah Andre. Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage, Harper Collins Publishers, New York 2002 p.25

[4] Wert, Jeffry D. A Glorious Army: Robert E. Lee’s Triumph 1862-1863 Simon and Schuster, New York and London 2011 p.218

[5] Alexander, Edward Porter. Fighting for the Confederacy: The Personal Recollections of General Edward Porter Alexander edited by Gary Gallagher University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill 1989 p.221

[6] Ibid. Wert A Glorious Army p.219

[7] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.60

[8] Korda, Michael. Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee Harper Collins Publishers, New York 2014 p.530

[9] Ibid. Foote The Civil War, A Narrative. Volume Two p.436

[10] Wert, Jeffry D. The Sword of Lincoln: The Army of the Potomac Simon and Schuster, New York and London 2005 p.260

[11] Dowdy, Clifford. Lee and His Men at Gettysburg: The Death of a Nation Skyhorse Publishing, New York 1986, originally published as Death of a Nation Knopf, New York 1958 p.37

[12] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.61

[13] Guelzo, Allen C. Gettysburg: The Last Invasion Vintage Books a Division of Random House, New York 2013 p.50

[14] Ibid. Wert The Sword of Lincoln p.260

[15] Fuller, J.F.C. Decisive Battles of the U.S.A. 1776-1918 University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln 2007 copyright 1942 The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals p.223

[16] Ibid Trudeau Gettysburg a Testing of Courage p.26

[17] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.50

[18] Coddington, Edwin B. The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command, A Touchstone Book, Simon and Schuster New York, 1968 p.53

[19] Davis, Burke J.E.B. Stuart: The Last Cavalier Random House, New York 1957 p.304

[20] Ibid. Foote The Civil War, A Narrative. Volume Two p.437

[21] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.63

[22] Ibid. Wert A Glorious Army p.221

[23] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.54

[24] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.64

[25] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.54

[26] Petruzzi, J. David and Stanley, Steven The Gettysburg Campaign in Numbers and Losses: Synopses, Orders of Battle, Strengths, Casualties and Maps, June 9 – July 1, 1863 Savas Beatie LLC, El Dorado Hills CA 2012 p.7

[27] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.64

[28] Ibid. Davis JEB Stuart p.306

[29] Ibid. Wert The Sword of Lincoln p.261

[30] Wert, Jeffry D. General James Longstreet The Confederacy’s Most Controversial Soldier, A Touchstone Book, Simon and Schuster, New York and London 1993 p. 251

[31] Ibid. Alexander Fighting for the Confederacy p.223

[32] Ibid. Davis JEB Stuart p.310

[33] Ibid. Wert A Glorious Army p.221

[34] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.59

[35] Ibid. Davis JEB Stuart p.310

[36] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.60

[37] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.57

[38] Ibid. Davis JEB Stuart p.311-312

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Gettysburg: The Order of Battle

battle-of-gettysburg-war-is-hell-store

Note: This is a resource for those following my Gettysburg series and for my students that go with me on the Gettysburg Staff Ride. When the armies met at Gettysburg Lee’s Army of Norther Virginia had about 75,000-80,000 effectives, Meade’s Army of the Potomac had about 80,000-85,000 depending on the sources. This meant that they were relatively evenly matched in terms of manpower and that the battle came down to leadership, tactical decisions and strategic factors that were already in play by the time that the armies met at Gettysburg.

As a note of explanation the Confederate forces at the division and brigade level were named after their commander’s, or in some cases previous commanders. Confederate units were allocated to the Army from the various states, thus there is no Confederate “Regulars” as are shown in the Union order of battle. Union Corps were numbered as were the divisions and brigades in each corps. In some cases the brigades or divisions were referred to by the names of their commanders, but this was not consistent. Federal forces consisted of both Regular Army units as well as units allocated by the states. The reader can note the composition of each brigade in both the Union and Confederate armies to see from where the soldiers were recruited from.

So apart from that there is no story to tell tonight. Nothing in the way of commentary. This is simply a resource.
Have a great night.

Peace

Padre Steve+

confeorg

Army of Northern Virginia – General Robert Edward Lee, Commanding



ileerob001p1

General Staff: Chief of Staff and Inspector General: Col Robert H. Chilton; Chief of Artillery: BG William N. Pendleton; Medical Director: Dr. Lafayette Guild; Aide de Camp and Asst. Adjutant General: Maj Walter H. Taylor; Aide de Camp and Asst. Military Secretary: Maj Charles Marshall; Aide de Camp and Asst. Inspector General: Maj Charles S. Venable; Aide de Camp: Maj Thomas M. R. Talcott

General Headquarters
Escort: 39th Virginia Cavalry Battalion (companies A & C)

James_Longstreet

I Corps- Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, Commanding

Lafayette_McLaws

McLaws’ Division- MG Lafayette McLaws

Kershaw’s Brigade-BG Joseph B. Kershaw
2nd South Carolina, 3rd South Carolina, 7th South Carolina, 8th South Carolina,  15th South Carolina; 3rd South Carolina Battalion
Barksdale’s Brigade- BG William Barksdale (mw); Col Benjamin G. Humphreys
13th Mississippi, 17th Mississippi, 18th Mississippi, 21st Mississippi
Semmes’ Brigade- BG Paul J. Semmes (mw); Col Goode Bryan
10th Georgia, 50th Georgia, 51st Georgia, 53rd Georgia
Wofford’s Brigade- BG William T. Wofford
16th Georgia, 18th Georgia, 24th Georgia, Cobb’s (Georgia) Legion, Phillips’ (Georgia) Legion, 3rd Georgia Sharpshooter Battalion
Cabell’s Artillery Battalion- Col Henry C. Cabell; Maj Samuel P. Hamilton
1st North Carolina Artillery, Battery A, Pulaski (Georgia) Artillery, 1st Richmond Howitzers, Troup (Georgia) Artillery

GeorgePickett

Pickett’s Division- MG George E. Pickett

Garnett’s Brigade- BG Richard B. Garnett (k); Maj Charles S. Peyton
8th Virginia, 18th Virginia, 19th Virginia, 28th Virginia, 56th Virginia
Kemper’s Brigade- BG James L. Kemper (w&c); Col Joseph Mayo, Jr
1st Virginia, 3rd Virginia, 7th Virginia, 11th Virginia, 24th Virginia
Armistead’s Brigade- BG Lewis A. Armistead (mw&c); Ltc William White (w); Maj Joseph R. Cabell; Col William R. Aylett
9th Virginia, 14th Virginia, 38th Virginia, 53rd Virginia, 57th Virginia
Dearing’s Artillery Battalion- Maj James Dearing; Maj John P. W. Read (w)
Fauquier (Virginia) Artillery, Hampden (Virginia) Artillery, Richmond Fayette (Virginia) Artillery, Blount’s (Virginia) Battery

Lt._Gen._John_B._Hood

Hood’s Division- MG John Bell Hood (w); BG Evander M. Law

Law’s Brigade-BG Evander M. Law; Col James L. Sheffield
4th Alabama, 15th Alabama, 44th Alabama, 47th Alabama, 48th Alabama
Robertson’s Brigade- BG Jerome B. Robertson (w); Ltc Philip A. Work
3rd Arkansas, 1st Texas, 4th Texas, 5th Texas
Anderson’s Brigade- BG George T. Anderson (w); Ltc William Luffman (w)
7th Georgia, 8th Georgia, 9th Georgia,  11th Georgia,  59th Georgia
Benning’s Brigade- BG Henry L. Benning
2nd Georgia, 15th Georgia,  17th Georgia, 20th Georgia
Henry’s Artillery Battalion- Maj Mathias W. Henry; Maj John C. Haskell
Branch (North Carolina) Battery, Charleston German (South Carolina) Artillery, Palmetto (South Carolina) Light Artillery, Rowan North Carolina Artillery
Artillery Reserve- Col James B. Walton
Alexander’s Artillery Battalion- Col Edward P. Alexander (w)
Ashland (Virginia) Artillery, Bedford (Virginia) Artillery, Brooks (South Carolina) Artillery, Madison (Louisiana) Light Artillery, Richmond (Virginia) Battery, Bath (Virginia) Battery
Washington (Louisiana) Artillery Battalion- Maj Benjamin F. Eshleman
First Company, Second Company, Third Company, Fourth Company

Richard-Ewell

II Corps- Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell Commanding

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Early’s Division- MG Jubal A. Early
Hays’ Brigade- BG Harry T. Hays
5th Louisiana, 6th Louisiana, 7th Louisiana, 8th Louisiana, 9th Louisiana
Smith’s Brigade-BG William Smith
31st Virginia, 49th Virginia, 52nd Virginia
Hoke’s Brigade- Col Isaac E. Avery (mw); Col Archibald C. Godwin
6th North Carolina: Maj Samuel McD. Tate, 21st North Carolina: Col William W. Kirkland, Maj James Beall, 57th North Carolina: Col Archibald C. Godwin, Ltc Hamilton C. Jones
Gordon’s Brigade- BG John Brown Gordon
13th Georgia, 26th Georgia, 31st Georgia, 38th Georgia, 60th Georgia, 61st Georgia
Jones’ Artillery Battalion- Ltc Hilary P. Jones
Charlottesville (Virginia) Artillery, Courtney (Virginia) Artillery, Louisiana Guard Artillery, Staunton (Virginia) Artillery
Cavalry 35th Virginia Battalion: Ltc Elijah V. White

JohnsonE

Johnson’s Division- MG Edward Johnson

Steuart’s Brigade- BG George H. Steuart
1st Maryland Battalion, 1st North Carolina, 3rd North Carolina, 10th Virginia, 23rd Virginia, 37th Virginia
Stonewall Brigade- BG James A. Walker
2nd Virginia, 4th Virginia, 5th Virginia, 27th Virginia, 33rd Virginia
Nicholls’ Brigade-Col Jesse M. Williams
1st Louisiana, 2nd Louisiana, 10th Louisiana, 14th Louisiana, 15th Louisiana
Jones’ Brigade- BG John M. Jones (w); Ltc Robert H. Dungan
21st Virginia, 25th Virginia, 42nd Virginia, 44th Virginia, 48th Virginia, 50th Virginia
Andrews’ Artillery Battalion- Maj Joseph W. Latimer (mw); Cpt Charles I. Raine
1st Maryland Battery, Alleghany (Virginia) Artillery, Chesapeake (Maryland) Artillery, Lee (Virginia) Battery

robert-rodes

Rodes’ Division- MG Robert E. Rodes

Daniel’s Brigade-BG Junius Daniel
32nd North Carolina, 43rd North Carolina, 45th North Carolina, 53rd North Carolina, 2nd North Carolina Battalion
Doles’ Brigade-BG George P. Doles
4th Georgia, 12th Georgia, 21st Georgia, 44th Georgia
Iverson’s Brigade- BG Alfred Iverson, Jr.
5th North Carolina, 12th North Carolina, 20th North Carolina, 23rd North Carolina
Ramseur’s Brigade- BG Stephen D. Ramseur
2nd North Carolina, 4th North Carolina, 14th North Carolina, 30th North Carolina
Rodes’ (old) Brigade- Col Edward A. O’Neal
3rd Alabama, 5th Alabama, 6th Alabama, 12th Alabama, 26th Alabama
Carter’s Artillery Battalion-Ltc Thomas H. Carter
Jefferson Davis (Alabama) Artillery, King William (Virginia) Artillery, Morris (Virginia) Artillery, Orange (Virginia) Artillery

Artillery Reserve- Col J. Thompson Brown
First Virginia Artillery Battalion- Cpt Willis J. Dance
2nd Richmond (Virginia) Howitzers, 3rd Richmond (Virginia) Howitzers, Powhatan (Virginia) Artillery, Rockbridge (Virginia) Artillery, Salem (Virginia) Artillery
Nelson’s Artillery Battalion- Ltc William Nelson
Amherst (Virginia) Artillery, Fluvanna (Virginia) Artillery, Milledge’s Georgia Battery

general_a_p_hill

III Corps- Lt. Gen. Ambrose Powell Hill Commanding

Richard_H._Anderson

Anderson’s Division- MG Richard H. Anderson
Wilcox’s Brigade- BG Cadmus M. Wilcox
8th Alabama, 9th Alabama, 10th Alabama, 11th Alabama, 14th Alabama
Mahone’s Brigade- BG William Mahone
6th Virginia, 12th Virginia, 16th Virginia, 41st Virginia, 61st Virginia
Wright’s Brigade-BG Ambrose R. Wright; Col William Gibson; BG Ambrose R. Wright
3rd Georgia, 22nd Georgia, 48th Georgia, 2nd Georgia Battalion
Perry’s Brigade- Col David Lang
2nd Florida, 5th Florida, 8th Florida
Posey’s Brigade- BG Carnot Posey (w); Col. Nathaniel Harris
12th Mississippi, 16th Mississippi, 19th Mississippi, 48th Mississippi
Cutt’s Artillery Battalion- Maj John Lane
Company A, Company B, Company C

heth

Heth’s Division- MG Henry Heth (w); BG James J. Pettigrew (w)
Pettigrew’s Brigade-BG James J. Pettigrew; Col James K. Marshall (k); Maj John T. Jones (w)
11th North Carolina, 26th North Carolina, 47th North Carolina, 52nd North Carolina
Heth’s (old) Brigade- Col John M. Brockenbrough; Col Robert M. Mayo
40th Virginia, 47th Virginia, 55th Virginia, 22nd Virginia Battalion
Archer’s Brigade- BG James J. Archer (w&c); Col Birkett D. Fry (w&c); Ltc Samuel G. Shepard
13th Alabama, 5th Alabama Battalion, 1st Tennessee (Provisional Army), 7th Tennessee,  14th Tennessee
Davis’ Brigade- BG Joseph R. Davis (w)
2nd Mississippi, 11th Mississippi, 42nd Mississippi, 55th North Carolina
Garnett’s Artillery Battalion- Ltc John J. Garnett
Donaldsonville (Louisiana) Artillery, Huger (Virginia) Artillery, Lewis (Virginia) Artillery, Norfolk (Virginia) Blues Artillery

William_Dorsey_Pender

Pender’s Division-MG William D. Pender (mw); BG James H. Lane; MG Isaac R. Trimble (w&c); BG James H. Lane
McGowan’s Brigade-Col Abner M. Perrin
1st South Carolina (Provisional Army), 1st South Carolina Rifles, 12th South Carolina, 13th South Carolina, 14th South Carolina
Lane’s Brigade- BG James H. Lane; Col Clark M. Avery
7th North Carolina, 18th North Carolina, 28th North Carolina, 33rd North Carolina, 37th North Carolina
Thomas’ Brigade- BG Edward L. Thomas
14th Georgia, 35th Georgia, 45th Georgia, 49th Georgia
Scales’ Brigade- BG Alfred M. Scales (w); Ltc George T. Gordon; Col William L. J. Lowrance
13th North Carolina, 16th North Carolina, 22nd North Carolina, 34th North Carolina, 38th North Carolina
Poague’s Artillery Battalion- Maj William T. Poague
Albemarle (Virginia) Artillery, Charlotte (North Carolina) Artillery, Madison (Mississippi) Artillery, Brooke’s Virginia Battery
Artillery Reserve- Col Reuben L. Walker
McIntosh’s Artillery Battalion- Maj David G. McIntosh
Danville (Virginia) Artillery, Hardaway (Alabama) Artillery, 2nd Rockbridge (Virginia) Artillery, Johnson’s Virginia Battery
Pegram’s Artillery Battalion- Maj William R. J. Pegram; Cpt Ervin B. Brunson
Crenshaw (Virginia) Battery, Fredericksburg (Virginia) Artillery, Letcher (Virginia) Artillery, Pee Dee (South Carolina) Artillery, Purcell (Virginia) Artillery

CWP015

Cavalry Division- Maj. Gen. James Ewell Brown Stuart
Hampton’s Brigade- BG Wade Hampton (w)
1st North Carolina, 1st South Carolina, 2nd South Carolina, Cobb’s (Georgia) Legion, Jeff Davis (Mississippi) Legion, Phillips (Georgia) Legion
Robertson’s Brigade (not present at Gettysburg) BG Beverly H. Robertson
4th North Carolina, 5th North Carolina
Fitzhugh Lee’s Brigade- BG Fitzhugh Lee
1st Maryland Battalion, 1st Virginia, 2nd Virginia, 3rd Virginia, 4th Virginia, 5th Virginia
Jenkins’ Brigade- BG Albert G. Jenkins (w); Col Milton J. Ferguson
14th Virginia, 16th Virginia, 17th Virginia, 34th Virginia Battn., 36th Virginia Battn., Jackson’s (Virginia) Battery
William H. F. (Rooney) Lee’s Brigade- Col John R. Chambliss, Jr.
2nd North Carolina Cavalry, 9th Virginia, 10th Virginia, 13th Virginia
Jones’ Brigade- BG William E. Jones
6th Virginia, 7th Virginia, 11th Virginia
Stuart’s Horse Artillery- Maj Robert F. Beckham
Breathed’s (Virginia) Battery, Chew’s (Virginia) Battery, Griffin’s (Maryland) Battery Hart’s (South Carolina) Battery, McGregor’s (Virginia) Battery, Moorman’s (Virginia) Battery
Imboden’s Command- BG John D. Imboden
18th Virginia, 62nd Virginia, McNeill’s Company (Virginia), Staunton (Virginia) Battery

Union Order of Battle
unionorg

general-george-meade

Army of the Potomac – Major General George Gordon Meade, Commanding



General Staff: Chief of Staff: Maj. Gen. Daniel Butterfield, Chief of Artillery: Brig. Gen. Henry J. Hunt, Medical Director: Maj Jonathan Letterman, Chief of Engineers: Brig. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren, Bureau of Military Information: Col. George H. Sharpe
Command of the Provost Marshal General: Brig. Gen. Marsena R. Patrick
93rd New York: Col. John S. Crocker, 8th United States (8 companies): Capt. Edwin W. H. Read, 2nd Pennsylvania Cavalry: Col. R. Butler Price, 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry (Companies E&I): Capt. James Starr, Regular cavalry
Engineer Brigade: Brig. Gen. Henry W. Benham
15th New York (3 companies): Maj Walter L. Cassin, 50th New York: Col. William H. Pettes, U.S. Battalion: Capt. George H. Mendell

GenJFRenyolds

I Corps- Maj. Gen. John F. Reynolds (k)

JSWadsworthBGenleft

First Division- Brig. Gen. James S. Wadsworth
1st  Brigade (The Iron Brigade)-Brig. Gen. Solomon Meredith (w); Col.. William W. Robinson
19th Indiana, 24th Michigan, 2nd Wisconsin, 6th Wisconsin, 7th Wisconsin
2nd Brigade- Brig. Gen. Lysander Cutler
7th Indiana, 76th New York, 84th New York (14th Militia), 95th New York, 147th New York, 56th Pennsylvania (9 companies)

john_Cleveland_Robinson

Second Division- Brig. Gen. John C. Robinson
1st Brigade- Brig. Gen. Gabriel R. Paul (w); Col. Samuel H. Leonard (w); Col. Adrian R. Root (w&c); Col. Richard Coulter (w); Col. Peter Lyle; Col. Richard Coulter
16th Maine, 13th Massachusetts, 94th New York, 104th New York, 107th Pennsylvania
2nd Brigade-Brig. Gen. Henry Baxter
12th Massachusetts, 83rd New York (9th Militia), 97th New York, 11th Pennsylvania, 88th Pennsylvania, 90th Pennsylvania

abner-doubleday

Third Division- Maj. Gen. Abner Doubleday; Brig. Gen. Thomas A. Rowley; Maj. Gen. Abner Doubleday
1st Brigade- Col. Chapman Biddle; Brig. Gen. Thomas A. Rowley; Col. Chapman Biddle
80th New York (20th Militia), 121st Pennsylvania, 142nd Pennsylvania, 151st Pennsylvania
2nd Brigade-Col. Roy Stone (w); Col. Langhorne Wister (w); Col. Edmund L. Dana
143rd Pennsylvania, 149th Pennsylvania, 150th Pennsylvania
3rd Brigade- Brig. Gen. George J. Stannard (w); Col. Francis V. Randall
13th Vermont, 14th Vermont, 16th Vermont
Artillery Brigade- Col. Charles S. Wainwright
Maine Light, 2nd Battery (B), Maine Light, 5th Battery (E), 1st New York Light, Batteries E&L, 1st Pennsylvania Light, Battery B, 4th United States, Battery B

HancockWinfield_teaser

II Corps- Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock (w); Brig. Gen. John Gibbon; Brig. Gen. William Hays

John_C._Caldwell

First Division- Brig. Gen.  John C. Caldwell
1st Brigade- Col. Edward E. Cross (mw); Col. H. Boyd McKeen
5th New Hampshire, 61st New York, 81st Pennsylvania , 148th Pennsylvania
2nd Brigade (The Irish Brigade) – Col. Patrick Kelly
28th Massachusetts, 63rd New York (2 companies),69th New York (2 companies), 88th New York (2 companies), 116th Pennsylvania (4 companies)
3rd Brigade-Brig. Gen. Samuel K. Zook (mw); Lt. Col.. Charles G. Freudenberg (w); Col. Richard P. Roberts (k); Lt. Col.. John Fraser
52nd New York, 57th New York, 66th New York, 140th Pennsylvania
4th Brigade- Col. John R. Brooke (w)
27th Connecticut (2 companies), 2nd Delaware, 64th New York, 53rd Pennsylvania, 145th Pennsylvania (7 companies)

john_Gibbon

Second Division- Brig. Gen. John Gibbon (w); Brig. Gen. William Harrow
1st Brigade- Brig. Gen. William Harrow; Col. Francis E. Heath
19th Maine, 15th Massachusetts, 1st Minnesota, 82nd New York (2nd Militia)
2nd Brigade- Brig. Gen. Alexander S. Webb (w)
69th Pennsylvania, 71st Pennsylvania, 72nd Pennsylvania, 106th Pennsylvania
3rd Brigade- Col. Norman J. Hall
19th Massachusetts, 20th Massachusetts, 7th Michigan, 42nd New York, 59th New York (4 companies)
Unattached: Massachusetts Sharpshooters, 1st Company

Daniel_Edgar_Sickles

III Corps- Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Sickles (w); Maj. Gen. David B. Birney

David_B._Birney_-_Brady-Handy

First Division- Maj. Gen. David B. Birney; Brig. Gen. J. H. Hobart Ward (w)
1st Brigade- Brig. Gen. Charles K. Graham (w&c); Col. Andrew H. Tippin; Col. Henry J. Madill
57th Pennsylvania (8 companies), 63rd Pennsylvania, 68th Pennsylvania, 105th Pennsylvania, 114th Pennsylvania, 141st Pennsylvania
2nd Brigade- Brig. Gen. J. H. Hobart Ward; Col. Hiram Berdan
20th Indiana, 3rd Maine, 4th Maine, 86th New York, 124th New York, 99th Pennsylvania, 1st United States Sharpshooters, 2nd United States Sharpshooters (8 companies)
3rd Brigade- Col. P. Régis de Trobriand
17th Maine, 3rd Michigan, 5th Michigan, 40th New York, 110th Pennsylvania (6 companies)

HumphreysA

Second Division- Brig. Gen. Andrew A. Humphreys
1st Brigade- Brig. Gen. Joseph B. Carr (w)
1st Massachusetts, 11th Massachusetts, 16th Massachusetts, 12th New Hampshire, 11th New Jersey,26th Pennsylvania
2nd Brigade-Col. William R. Brewster
70th New York, 71st New York, 72nd New York, 73rd New York, 74th New York, 120th New York
3rd Brigade-Col. George C. Burling
2nd New Hampshire, 5th New Jersey, 6th New Jersey, 7th New Jersey, 8th New Jersey,115th Pennsylvania
Artillery Brigade-Capt. George E. Randolph (w); Capt. A. Judson Clark
1st New Jersey Light, Battery B, 1st New York Light, Battery D, New York Light, 4th Battery, 1st Rhode Island Light, Battery E, 4th United States, Battery K

George_Sykes_and_staff_-_Brady-Handy

V Corps-Maj. Gen. George Sykes

James_Barnes

First Division- Brig. Gen. James Barnes (w)
1st Brigade-Col. William S. Tilton
18th Massachusetts, 22nd Massachusetts, 1st Michigan, 118th Pennsylvania
2nd Brigade-Col. Jacob B. Sweitzer
9th Massachusetts, 32nd Massachusetts, 4th Michigan, 62nd Pennsylvania
3rd Brigade-Col. Strong Vincent (mw); Col. James C. Rice
20th Maine, 16th Michigan, 44th New York, 83rd Pennsylvania

2.-Brig.-Gen.-Romeyn-B.-Ayres

Second Division-Brig. Gen. Romeyn B. Ayres
1st Brigade- Col. Hannibal Day
3rd United States (Cos. B, C, E, G, I and K), 4th United States (Cos. C, F, H and K), 6th United States (Cos. D, F, G, H and I), 12th United States (Cos. A, B, C, D and G, 1st Bn. and Cos. A, C and D, 2nd Bn.), 14th United States (Cos. A, B, D, E, F and G, 1st Bn. and Cos. F and G, 2nd Bn.)
2nd Brigade-Col. Sidney Burbank
2nd United States (Cos. B, C, F, H, I and K), 7th United States (Cos. A, B, E and I), 10th United States (Cos. D, G and H), 11th United States (Cos. B, C, D, E, F and G),17th United States (Cos. A, C, D, G and H, 1st Bn. and Cos. A and B, 2nd Bn.)
3rd Brigade-Brig. Gen. Stephen H. Weed (k); Col. Kenner Garrard
140th New York, 146th New York, 91st Pennsylvania, 155th Pennsylvania
Third Division-Brig. Gen. Samuel W. Crawford
1st Brigade-Col. William McCandless
1st Pennsylvania Reserves (9 companies), 2nd Pennsylvania Reserves, 6th Pennsylvania Reserves,13th Pennsylvania Reserves
2nd Brigade (not present—assigned to Washington defenses)
3rd Brigade-Col. Joseph W. Fisher
5th Pennsylvania Reserves, 9th Pennsylvania Reserves, 10th Pennsylvania Reserves, 11th Pennsylvania Reserves, 12th Pennsylvania Reserves (9 companies)
Artillery Brigade-Capt. Augustus P. Martin
Massachusetts Light, 3rd Battery, 1st New York Light, Battery C, 1st Ohio Light, Battery L, 5th United States, Battery D, 5th United States, Battery I

John_Sedgwick

VI Corps-Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick

HGWright

First Division-Brig. Gen. Horatio G. Wright
1st Brigade-Brig. Gen. Alfred T. A. Torbert
1st New Jersey, 2nd New Jersey, 3rd New Jersey, 15th New Jersey
2nd Brigade-Brig. Gen. Joseph J. Bartlett; Col. Emory Upton
5th Maine, 121st New York, 95th Pennsylvania, 96th Pennsylvania
3rd Brigade-Brig. Gen. David A. Russell
6th Maine, 49th Pennsylvania (4 companies), 119th Pennsylvania, 5th Wisconsin

Provost Guard: 4th New Jersey (3 companies): Capt. William R. Maxwell

albion-howe-111-b-4713

Second Division- Brig. Gen. Albion P. Howe
2nd Brigade-Col. Lewis A. Grant
2nd Vermont, 3rd Vermont, 4th Vermont, 5th Vermont, 6th Vermont
3rd Brigade-Brig. Gen. Thomas H. Neill
7th Maine (6 companies), 33rd New York (detachment), 43rd New York, 49th New York, 77th New York, 61st Pennsylvania

NewtonJohn

Third Division-Maj. Gen. John Newton; Brig. Gen. Frank Wheaton
1st Brigade-Brig. Gen. Alexander Shaler
65th New York, 67th New York, 122nd New York, 23rd Pennsylvania, 82nd Pennsylvania
2nd Brigade-Col. Henry L. Eustis
7th Massachusetts, 10th Massachusetts, 37th Massachusetts, 2nd Rhode Island.
3rd Brigade-Brig. Gen. Frank Wheaton; Col. David J. Nevin
62nd New York, 93rd Pennsylvania, 98th Pennsylvania,139th Pennsylvania
Artillery Brigade-Col. Charles H. Tompkins
Massachusetts Light, 1st Battery, New York Light, 1st Battery, New York Light, 3rd Battery, 1st Rhode Island Light, Battery C, 1st Rhode Island Light, Battery G, 2nd United States, Battery D, 2nd United States, Battery G, 5th United States, Battery F

Oliver-Otis-Howard-9345101-1-402

XI Corps-Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard; Maj. Gen. Carl Schurz

Francis_C._Barlow

First Division-Brig. Gen. Francis C. Barlow (w); Brig. Gen. Adelbert Ames
1st Brigade-Col. Leopold von Gilsa
1st New York (9 companies), 54th New York, 68th New York, 153rd Pennsylvania
2nd Brigade-Brig. Gen. Adelbert Ames; Col. Andrew L. Harris
17th Connecticut, 25th Ohio, 75th Ohio, 107th Ohio

Adolph_von_Steinwehr

Second Division-Brig. Gen. Adolph von Steinwehr
1st Brigade-Col. Charles R. Coster
134th New York, 154th New York, 27th Pennsylvania, 73rd Pennsylvania
2nd Brigade  Col. Orland Smith
33rd Massachusetts, 136th New York, 55th Ohio, 73rd Ohio

schurz

Third Division-Maj. Gen. Carl Schurz; Brig. Gen. Alexander Schimmelfennig; Maj. Gen. Carl Schurz
1st Brigade-Brig. Gen. Alexander Schimmelfennig; Col. George von Amsberg
82nd Illinois, 45th New York, 157th New York, 61st Ohio, 74th Pennsylvania
2nd Brigade-Col. Wladimir Krzyzanowski
58th New York, 19th New York, 82nd Ohio, 75th Pennsylvania, 26th Wisconsin
Artillery Brigade-Maj Thomas W. Osborn
1st New York Light, Battery I, New York Light, 13th Battery, 1st Ohio Light, Battery I, 1st Ohio Light, Battery K, 4th United States, Battery G

Henry_Warner_Slocum

XII Corps-Maj. Gen. Henry W. Slocum; Brig. Gen. Alpheus S. Williams

alpheus-williams1

First Division-Brig. Gen. Alpheus S. Williams; Brig. Gen. Thomas H. Ruger
1st Brigade-Col. Archibald L. McDougall
5th Connecticut, 20th Connecticut, 3rd Maryland, 123rd New York, 145th New York, 46th Pennsylvania
3rd Brigade-Brig. Gen. Thomas H. Ruger; Col. Silas Colgrove
27th Indiana, 2nd Massachusetts, 13th New Jersey, 107th New York, 3rd Wisconsin

General-John-Geary

Second Division-Brig. Gen. John W. Geary
1st Brigade-Col. Charles Candy
5th Ohio, 7th Ohio, 29th Ohio, 66th Ohio, 28th Pennsylvania, 147th Pennsylvania (8 companies)
2nd Brigade-Col. George A. Cobham, Jr.; Brig. Gen. Thomas L. Kane
29th Pennsylvania, 109th Pennsylvania, 111th Pennsylvania
3rd Brigade-Brig. Gen. George S. Greene (w)
60th New York, 78th New York, 102nd New York, 137th New York, 149th New York
Lockwood’s Brigade-Brig. Gen. Henry H. Lockwood
1st Maryland, Potomac Home Brigade, 1st Maryland, Eastern Shore,150th New York
Artillery Brigade-Lt Edward D. Muhlenberg
1st New York Light, Battery M, Pennsylvania Light, Battery E,4th United States, Battery F  5th United States, Battery K

pleasonton

Cavalry Corps -Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton

buford

First Division-Brig. Gen. John Buford
1st Brigade-Col. William Gamble
8th Illinois, 12th Illinois (4 cos.) & 3rd Indiana (6 cos.), 8th New York
2nd Brigade-Col. Thomas Devin
6th New York (6 companies), 9th New York, 17th Pennsylvania, 3rd West Virginia, Companies A and C
Reserve Brigade-Brig. Gen. Wesley Merritt
6th Pennsylvania, 1st United States, 2nd United States, 5th United States, 6th United States

dmgregg

Second Division-Brig. Gen. David Gregg
1st Brigade-Col. John B. McIntosh
1st Maryland (11 companies), Purnell (Maryland) Legion, Company A, 1st Massachusetts, 1st New Jersey, 1st Pennsylvania, 3rd Pennsylvania, 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery, Section, Battery H
3rd Brigade-Col. John I. Gregg
1st Maine (10 companies), 10th New York, 4th Pennsylvania, 16th Pennsylvania

Kilpatrick-Judson(1)

Third Division-Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick
1st Brigade-Brig. Gen. Elon J. Farnsworth (k); Col. Nathaniel P. Richmond
5th New York, 18th Pennsylvania, 1st Vermont, 1st West Virginia (10 companies)
2nd Brigade-Brig. Gen. George A. Custer
1st Michigan, 5th Michigan, 6th Michigan, 7th Michigan: (10 companies)
Horse Artillery
1st Brigade-Capt. James M. Robertson
9th Michigan Battery, 6th New York Battery,2nd United States, Batteries B and L, 2nd United States, Battery M, 4th United States, Battery E
2nd Brigade-Capt. John C. Tidball
1st United States, Batteries E and G, 1st United States, Battery K, 2nd United States, Battery A

Robert_O_Tyler

Artillery Reserve-Brig. Gen. Robert O. Tyler, Capt. James M. Robertson

1st Regular Brigade-Capt. Dunbar R. Ransom
1st United States, Battery H, 3rd United States, Batteries F and K, 4th United States, Battery C, 5th United States, Battery C
1st Volunteer Brigade-Lt. Col.. Freeman McGilvery
Massachusetts Light, 5th Battery (E), Massachusetts Light, 9th Battery, New York Light, 15th Battery, Pennsylvania Light, Batteries C and F
2nd Volunteer Brigade-Capt. Elijah D. Taft
1st Connecticut Heavy, Battery B, 1st Connecticut Heavy, Battery M, Connecticut Light, 2nd Battery. New York Light, 5th Battery
3rd Volunteer Brigade-Capt. James F. Huntington
New Hampshire Light, 1st Battery, 1st Ohio Light, Battery H, 1st Pennsylvania Light, Batteries F and G, West Virginia Light, Battery C
4th Volunteer Brigade-Capt. Robert H. Fitzhugh
Maine Light, 6th Battery, Maryland Light, Battery A, New Jersey Light, 1st Battery, 1st New York Light, Battery G, 1st New York Light, Battery K
Train Guard: 4th New Jersey Infantry (7 companies)

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