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Richmond Washington DC Potomac River Rappahannock River York River

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Presentation on theme: "Richmond Washington DC Potomac River Rappahannock River York River"— Presentation transcript:

1 Richmond Washington DC Potomac River Rappahannock River York River James River Shenandoah River Rapidan River S Ann River N Ann River Littie River Mattaponi River Pamunkey River Second Cavalry Battles “Stoneman’s Raid” Virginia CO. a,b,d,e,f,g,h,I,k (Maps not to scale – for visual reference only) = RR = 2nd US Battle = Main Towns/Junctions = Capital City Key Washington DC Kellyville Brandy Station Culpeper Racoon Ford Rapidan Station Louisa CH Many historians point to Stoneman's Raid in 1863 as the resurgence of the Union cavalry.  Troopers of the Second Cavalry who were on the raid would no doubt agree.  General George Stoneman led this successful raid deep into the rear of General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.  This action proved ill-timed and a major strategic error for General Joseph Hooker.  The absence of these troops as a cavalry screen at Chancellorsville allowed Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson to fall upon the unsuspecting flank of the Union Army with disastrous results.   The cavalry corps crossed the Rappahannock at Kelly’s Ford April 29th. They carried three day’s rations and forage with the trooper while three days’ supply was taken on pack mules, but no wheel transportation was carried. After Averill’s division was recalled by Hooker and other detachments left behind, the command consisted of an aggregate of 4,329 men and horses. General Buford’s brigade, which included the Second Cavalry, moved to the left soon after crossing Kelly’s Ford. On April 30, the command marched in three parallel lines, while the country was patrolled for the enemy. When General Buford’s column crossed the Rapidan at Minot’s Ford, it put to a flight a considerable body of the enemy. The whole force encamped on the south side of the river at Raccoon Ford. On May 1 they moved out and put to flight another group of enemy cavalry at Orange Springs where some prisoners and provisions were captured. They reached Louisa Court House on the morning of 2 May, which is located on the Virginia Central Railroad. Here they sent parties out for miles up and down the track to destroy it, burn bridges and culverts. They spent most of the day at this place foraging as they were now living off the country. After a few small skirmishes they reached Thompson’s Four Corners a little before midnight. General Stoneman called his leaders together and issued orders to divide the command into small groups for the purpose of destroying property of military value. These units spread out in all directions and began a systematic destruction of railroads, telegraph wires, bridges, store houses and machine shops. One detachment under Col Kilpatrick, while destroying property near Richmond, pursued a Rebel force inside the fortifications of that place. On May 3rd, General Buford’s command (with the Second Cavalry) was located at Shannon Hill and sent parties to destroy the canal and bridge near Cedar Point. The command was moving and fighting so much of the time there was little chance to rest. When they finally reached Kelly’s Ford May 8, men were stragling and wandering off from their units at an alarming rate. The amount of damage done behind the enemy lines was enormous; but the cavalry was lost to Hooker during the most important period of the battle of Chancellorsville. Shannon X road So. Anna B Tunstall’s Station Ashland/A-Church Thompson’s X road Richmond Stoneman’s Raid - 29 April – Kellyville - 30 April – Brandy Station/Culpeper/Racoon Ford - 1 May – Rapidan Station/Louisa CH - 2 May – Thompson’s X Roads - 3-7 May – Stoneman Splits Forces, Raids RR & Bridges - 8 May – Forces trickle back across Kelly’s Ford

2 Second Cavalry Battles Gettysburg Campaign - 1863
(Maps not to scale – for visual reference only) Gettysburg - 1 Jul – Buford Holds Line at GB, PA = RR = 2nd US Battle = Main Towns/Junctions = Capital City Key - 30 Jun – Buford moves toward GB, PA - Merrit’s Brigade w/2US covers flank Jul – Boonsborough, MD & vicinity Boonsborough Funkstown - 3 Jul – Merrit w/2US joins Federal left Williamsport - 6 Jul – Williamsport, MD Falling Water - 14 Jul – Falling Water, MD - 24 Jun – Buford Div w/2US moves north Upperville Jun – Upperville, VA Aldie - 18 Jun – Aldie, VA Brandy Station In May, General Alfred Pleasanton, relieved General Stoneman from command of the Cavalry Corps and Buford, Gregg and Duffie took over as division commanders. The Cavalry Corps was charged with outpost duty from Falmouth to Warrenton Junction. General Hooker guessed Lee’s plans to invade the north and ordered General Pleasanton to make a reconnaissance to discover the intensions of any Confederate troops on the Fredericksburg-Culpeper road. Accompanied by two infantry brigades the corps moved out June 9th, with orders to cross Beverly and Kelly’s ford and unite at Brandy Station. The Second Cavalry was a part of the regular brigade of Buford’s Division. The regiment moved out at dawn and was soon across the Rappahannock River. Since Stuart intended to move north on this same day to screen Lee’s movements, the Confederates were massed near Beverly Ford where they came into contact at once with the Union troops. From now until five in the afternoon, the fighting was continuous. Two Battalions of the Second, one under Rodenbough, and one under Canfield, were soon detached and sent to the front. This latter officer, who was the commander of Company M, the newest in the regiment, soon fell, pierced by a bullet. Rodenbough’s battalion was hotly engaged in dismounted action until relieved by Leoser’s battalion. During this time the entire regiment was subject to a well-directed artillery fire. Finally, orders came to charge this same artillery, which was done with much zest, causing it to limber up and gallop away. Soon after a halt was ordered, the regiment was instructed to advance with the 6th Cavalry. Leoser’s battalion went forward as skirmishers followed by the regiment and were soon charged by an enemy force. The men now mounted and moved forward at a gallop with sabers drawn. They rode pell mell at the astonished enemy, who soon turned and fled. Catching up with the Rebels, our men dealt saber blows and fired their pistols on every side. There was no halting to take prisoners. Friend and foe were missed together, dealing blows to right and left. The charge carried across the plateau to the valley beyond where fresh enemy troops were moving to the attack. The Second was then rallied and formed for further action. Soon it was engaged in a dismounted fight with the enemy in a nearby wood. About five in the afternoon, the regiment was relieved from the front line. Latter it returned to the north side of the Rappahannock when General Pleasanton withdrew his whole force. In this battle the Union cavalry had found itself for the first time during the war, and it dealt such blows to the Confederates that the later no longer said the Yankees were not worthy opponents. The fight lasted all day with 10,000 federal cavalry moving from three directions to attack the assembled 9,500 Confederate Cavalry. This was also the first time the Second had dared to take on J.E.B. Stuart’s forces head-to-head.  The Second was in the front at the surprise of the Confederates, and later fought so tenaciously that it lost 68 killed and wounded out of the present strength of 225 men. This action gave Stuart a “black eye” in the Southern press and may have influenced his actions over the next three weeks prior to the epic battle of Gettysburg. Events Leading to Gettysburg Lee’s objective was to invade the North from the Shenandoah Valley, protecting his right by holding the mountain passes with Stuart’s cavalry and Longstreet’s infantry corps. By June 15th, Stuart held Thoroughfare and Aldie Gaps in the Bull Run Mountains. From June 14-17, Pleasanton’s cavalry corps was covering the movement of the Army of the Potomac northward. On June 17, Pleasanton was sent to find out what Lee was doing. His plan was to move on Aldie and with Buford’s and Gregg’s cavalry division and Barne’s infantry division, and to send a regiment under Duffie to Middleburg. The Second Cavalry belonged to the Reserve Brigade in Buford’s Division. It was during the march to Aldie that Company C joined the regiment uniting the command for the first time during the war. Reaching Aldie June 18, the regiment remained saddled all day awaiting orders. During that night it was annoyed by guerrillas firing from stone walls and other cover. Soon after starting toward Middleburg on the morning of the 19th, the leading battalion was attacked near Goose Creek and captured several prisoners. There was desperate fighting all day by Gregg’s division at Middleburg, during which the enemy’s right flank was turned and he fell back one-half mile to a stronger position. It was during the fighting near this town that the Second and some Rebels made a rush for the same stone wall. The Second reached the wall ahead of the Rebels. Severe fighting ensued with small arms and finally the enemy was repulsed. On June 21, Stuart’s five brigades were extended from Middleburg to Union as a screen to Lee’s movements. On this date, Gregg’s division was placed in position against the enemy right, the infantry in the center and Buford’s division on the enemy left. Greg steadily drove the Confederates back to Upperville where Buford’s division cooperated. At four in the afternoon there was a charge of the whole regular brigade, consisting of the Second, Fifth and Sixth Cavalry in column of squadrons. By a liberal use of the saber, severe damage was inflicted upon the foe and he was soon driven from the field. After repeated charges on both sides the Confederates were driven to Ashby’s Gap, which was occupied that night by a portion of Longstreet’s corps. Pleasanton fell back to Aldie June 22, and in a few days joined the Army of the Potomac. The cavalry corps during June succeeded in penetrating the enemy screen and at the same time preventing Lee from finding out what the Army of the Potomac was doing. The Federal Cavalry had proved its ability to cope with the Southern troopers, mounted and dismounted. Gettysburg Stuart started on June 24th with three brigades of cavalry, to move around the Union Army in order to cut their line of communication and to threaten the capital. He soon captured a wagon train eight miles long and committed other depredations. Kilpatrick’s cavalry division which had recently been added to the cavalry corps, was sent to intercept. The First Cavalry Division, Army of the Potomac, led by former Second Dragoon, Major General John Buford, was ordered to cover the left of the main army and watch the enemy in the direction of Hagerstown. Gregg’s cavalry division was located on the Baltimore pike covering the right arm of the army. After several encounters with Kilpatrick’s division, Stuart finally eluded him and reached Gettysburg after the battle began. On the afternoon of June 30th, Buford’s division reached Gettysburg, PA as the enemy entered the town. Realizing the importance of this place on account of the road net and the commanding ground, he drove the enemy back toward Cashtown. Through untiring efforts of patrols, he learned that Hill’s corps of the Confederate Army was at that place. Then he decided to hold the ground until Reynold’s Corps, encamped five miles south, could reach the place. To Buford must go the credit for selecting Gettysburg as a battlefield. On the morning of July 1, the First Cavalry Division fought desperately against ever-increasing numbers of Confederates and finally moved the line of battle back about 200 yards. Upon the arrival of Reynold’s First Corps, they continued to fight dismounted during the day. That night they bivouacked on the battlefield with pickets extending to Fairfield. On the morning of July 2, after a brisk fight with Confederate sharpshooters, the cavalry corps was relieved by Third Corps and ordered to Westminster to guard the supply trains. Buford’s regular brigade commanded by General Wesley Merritt was detached at this time and picketed toward the left and left front of the army. In doing this it reached Emmittsburg on July 2. The next morning it moved to the right of Gettysburg road and formed part of the Union Left near Round Top Mountain. Soon after entering the line, the Second Cavalry was checked by a heavy fire from the enemy, who was stationed behind a stone wall. The artillery assisted in displacing the Rebels but they took up a position to the rear, and it was necessary for our regiment to drive them out again and again. Advancing along the Gettysburg road, the brigade of dismounted skirmishers caused the Confederates under Law to detach part of his line in order to protect his flank and rear. Actions Immediately Following Gettysburg On the morning of July 4th, General Lee’s army was in full retreat, followed by the Union Cavalry in hot pursuit. The First Cavalry Division was joined by the regular brigade under Merritt at Frederick on July 5. From here it moved to Hagerstown, where it bivouacked the night. Following the Confederate army it marched to Williamsport, Maryland, and attacked their train, which was crossing the Potomac. The Confederate defense stiffened after their pickets were driven in. Gamble’s Brigade of the division punished the enemy severely but was not able to destroy very much of the trains on account of the large force guarding them. Along with the rest of the First Cavalry Division, Merrit’s brigade, which included the Second Cavalry, now fell back on Boonsborough. The enemy was found advancing south on Hagerstown road, and the regular brigade was engaged in delaying him in the vicinity of Boonsborough for several days. Here on the 7th and 8th he was driven back toward Haggerstown. On the 9th, they drove him for about five miles until within three miles of Funkstown. On the 10th, the division was formed as a line of skirmishers with the Reserve Brigade on the right and they soon drove the enemy into Funkstown. Because of the shortage of ammunition on this day the division was finally forces to give up the position gained and it was later occupied by the infantry. On July 14, the division was ordered to advance and it was found the enemy had evacuated their positions. They soon came in contact with the rear of Lee’s army near Falling Waters, Maryland and Buford decided to move to a flank and get possession of the road bridge. They soon scattered the Rebels and captured much equipment and about 500 prisoners, but the bridge was cut loose and swung to the Virginia shore. Brandy Station - 9 Jun – Brandy Station, VA Gettysburg Campaign

3 Second Cavalry Battles Along the Rappahannock Virginia - 1863
(Maps not to scale – for visual reference only) = RR = 2nd US Battle = Main Towns/Junctions = Capital City Key Manassas Gap Along the Rappahannock Jul – Manassas Gap Brandy Station Culpeper Rappahanock Station - 1-5 Aug – Rappahannock Sta./Brandy Sta./Culpeper - 8 Nov – Culpeper/Muddy Run Muddy Run - 26 Nov–2 Dec – Mine Run Campaign Raccoon Ford Culpeper and Rappahannock Station Moving down into Virginia the division reached Rectortown July 20th. Here Merrit’s brigade was detached to hold Manassas Gap. On reaching the gap, he detached the First Cavalry toward Front Royal and the rest of the brigade occupied a defensive position. The Second Cavalry was later sent forward to reinforce the First and to discover the identity of the foe. After finding out that one of the Confederate Corps was near the Gap, Merrit decided to attack vigorously in order to deceive the enemy onto thinking the place was occupied by a strong force. In this attack, Merrit’s men captured 5 officers and 21 enlisted men. On 22 July he continued to skirmish with the enemy but the Confederates made no attempt to capture the position. The brigade was relieved by French’s division of the 3rd Corps and marched to Orleans, where it joined the rest of the First Cavalry division. By July 27 the regiment was at Warrenton, Virginia and by the end of the month it was back on the Rappahannock River. The First Cavalry Division was ordered to make a reconnaissance toward Culpeper Courthouse on August 1st to determine the strength of the enemy in that vicinity. So sudden and vigorous was the assault upon Stuart’s cavalry that he barely escaped being captured with his headquarters. The reconnaissance was pushed forward to Brandy Station where a severe engagement took place in which the Second Cavalry took a prominent part in the charges and counter charges. Having accomplished the end sought after, Buford was forced to fall back when attacked by Stuart’s supporting infantry. In this series of fights, the Second Cavalry lost 7 killed, 28 wounded and 5 missing. Merrit’s brigade was again involved in a fight at Rappahanock Station on August 5 with Confederates as the aggressors this time. The latter who were on a spirited reconnaissance, attacked the Union troops in their camp, but were soon repulsed and driven for three miles toward the river. In the beginning of October, the regiment turned over its horses to other units and marched to Camp Buford, Maryland for remounts and a few recruits. After a brief, but badly needed rest, the Second was ordered to the front were it joined the Army of the Potomac at Centerville on 14 October. Mead’s plan was to force a passage of the Rappahannock and attack the Confederates south of there. During the operations, the First Cavalry Division operated on the right of the Army. Buford forced a passage of the Hazel River at Rixeyville and thus cooperated with Sedwick, who commanded the 5th and 6th Army Corps. The regular brigade of this division under Merrit led the advance of the army and frequently engaged the cavalry and rear guard of the Rebels, especially at Culpeper and Muddy Run on November 8. Mine Run Campaign Late November, the continuous movement and fighting finally caught up with General Buford. Illness and old wounds forced him to the hospital for treatment, where he soon died. General Merrit, who was still officially the captain of Company C, Second Cavalry, succeeded General Buford in command of the First Division. In the Mine Run campaign from November 26 to December 2, this division guarded the trains. The Reserve Brigade, of which the Second Cavalry formed a part, moved out from camp and marched to Stevensburg, where a line of vedettes was established around the town. The next day it proceeded to Ely’s and Culpeper Fords on the Rapidan, where it protected the trains at these points. It was also given the task of guarding the fords from Germanna to the mouth ot the Rapidan and Richard’s Ford. Until the Brigade returned to Culpeper, Virginia December 2, it was constantly engaged in fighting guerillas and preventing attacks upon the wagon train. As 1863 drew to a close, the Second Cavalry Regiment found itself quartered a few miles south of Culpeper Court House where it built log huts for the men and officers. Mine Run Rapidan Parkers Store Locust Grove New Hope Church


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