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The cavalry battle at Gettysburg, 3rd July, 3.30 p.m.
Map showing the cavalry battle at Gettysburg, 3rd July, 3.30 p.m.
Map taken from Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: III: Retreat from Gettysburg, p.400
Gettysburg: The Last Invasion, Allen C. Guelzo .An excellent account of the Gettysburg campaign, illustrated by a splendid selection of eyewitness accounts. Focuses on the actions of individual commanders, from Meade and Lee down to regimental commanders, with a focus on the corps commanders and their activities and attitudes. Supported by plenty of accounts from further down the command chain and from civilians caught up in the fighting. [read full review]
Stars in Their Courses: Gettysburg Campaign, Shelby Foote, 304 pages. Well researched and written by one of the best known historians of the Civil War, this work is taken from his longer three volume work on the war, but does not suffer from that.
Return to: Battle of Gettysburg - Gettysburg Map Collection
Gettysburg - East Cavalry Field - July 3, 1863
While infantry fighting resumed on the morning of July 3, two brigades of Union cavalry under Gen. David McMurtrie Gregg picketed the intersection of the Hanover and Low Dutch roads three miles in the rear of the Union army. A third brigade of Michigan cavalry under Gen. George Custer was close at hand and supported Gregg’s troopers. Control of both roads would be essential if the Union army was forced to withdraw from their positions around Gettysburg.
Artillery fire signaled the opening of a Confederate attack followed by dismounted fighting on the farm of John Rummell. Three brigades of Confederate horsemen under Gen. Jeb Stuart, who had arrived on the battlefield the evening before, launched a series of mounted charges, each of which was repulsed by a counter-charge from the Federals. After suffering heavy losses, Stuart withdrew. The Union rear was secure.
Battle of Gettysburg Day 3: Planning Pickett&rsquos Charge
Lee then decided on a frontal assault on the Union Center at Cemetery Ridge with close to 12,000 men under the command of General Longstreet. Close to 160 Confederate artillery pieces would soften up the Union defenses prior to the advance of the infantry. Then once the infantry advanced, they would have conserved enough ammunition to support the attack.
The Confederate artillery barrage began at 1 pm and its prime objective was to inflict damage on Union artillery prior to the advance of the infantry. After 30 minutes, the Union artillery returned fire with about 80 cannons. Most of the Confederate shells overshot their targets and did not inflict much damage to the Union defenses.
1st North Carolina Cavalry Regiment
Company A, Jefferson, Ashe County
Company B, Rich Square, Northhampton County
Company C, Mecklenburg Rangers, Charlotte, Mecklenburg County
Company D, Watauga Rangers, Boone, Watauga County
Company E, Warrenton, Warrenton County
Company F, Cabarrus Rangers, Concord Cabarrus County
Company G, Buncombe Rangers, Ashville, Buncombe County
Company H, Goldsboro, Wayne County
Seven Days Before Richmond
Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam)
Hampton’s Brigade reached the field on September 17 and took position on the left of Jackson’s Command, occupying, with Lee’s Brigade, a line extending from the left of the Confederate Infantry to the Potomac River.
Battle of Fredericksburg
Battle of Brandy Station (Fleetwood or Beverly Ford)
Skirmish at Fairfax Court House and Fairvax Station, Virginia
Battle of Gettysburg
Colonel Baker took command of the brigade when General Hampton was wounded in the fighting on the East Cavalry Field. Lieutenant Colonel Gordon took over the regiment.
From the monument to Hampton’s Brigade on the Gettysburg battlefield:
July 2. Engaged in the evening with 3rd Division Cavalry Corps near Hunterstown. Cobb’s Legion led the attack and lost a number of officers and men killed and wounded.
July 3. The Brigade arrived here about noon and skirmished with Union sharpshooters. In the afternoon the 1st North Carolina and Jeff Davis’ Legion advancing in support of Chambliss’ Brigade drove the Union cavalry but met their reserve and were in a critical position when the Brigade went to their support and a hand to hand fight ensued in which Brig. Gen. Wade Hampton was severely wounded. The conflict ended in the failure of the Confederates in their purpose to assail the rear of the Union Army
South Cavalry Field [ edit | edit source ]
Gettysburg South Cavalry Field
On the morning of July 3, Union Cavalry Corps commander Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton ordered two of his brigades to the left flank of the Union army. He ordered Brig. Gen. Wesley Merritt's Reserve Brigade of Buford's division to move north from Emmitsburg to join Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick's division, moving from Two Taverns on the Baltimore Pike to the area southwest of Round Top. By this time, the only brigade in Kilpatrick's division was that of Brig. Gen. Elon J. Farnsworth, George Custer's brigade having been detached for service with David Gregg at East Cavalry Field. It is unclear what Pleasonton hoped to accomplish. There is no record that he performed any reconnaissance in this area. It has been speculated that Army of the Potomac commander George G. Meade was preparing for a possible counterattack to follow the repulse of Pickett's Charge, which he had anticipated since the night before. ⎚]
Farnsworth reached the area at approximately 1 p.m., about the time the massive Confederate artillery barrage started in preparation for Pickett's Charge, and his 1,925 troops took up a position in a line south of the George Bushman farm. From left to right, the regiments were the 18th Pennsylvania Cavalry, the 1st West Virginia, and 1st Vermont. Battery E., 4th U.S. Artillery, occupied a small, rocky knoll in the rear and the 5th New York cavalry was placed in a nearby ravine to guard the artillery. Joined by Kilpatrick, they awaited Merritt's brigade, which arrived at about 3 p.m. and took up a position straddling the Emmitsburg Road, to Farnsworth's left. By this time the infantry portion of Pickett's Charge had begun, and Kilpatrick was eager to get his men into the fight. ⎛]
On the Confederate line to the east of the Emmitsburg Road, only infantry troops were involved. The four brigades of Hood's division, under the command of Brig. Gen. Evander M. Law, had occupied the area from Round Top, through Devil's Den, and back to the road since the battle on July 2. Initially, Law had just the 1st Texas Infantry (from Brig. Gen. Jerome B. Robertson's Texas Brigade) facing Farnsworth to the south, but he soon reinforced them with 47th Alabama Infantry, the 1st South Carolina, and artillery. To the west of the road, facing Merritt, was the Georgia brigade of Brig. Gen. George "Tige" Anderson. ⎜]
Young Kilpatrick had little experience in commanding cavalry, and he demonstrated that by attacking fortified infantry positions in a piecemeal fashion. West of the road, Merritt went in first, with his 6th Pennsylvania cavalrymen fighting dismounted. Anderson's Georgians repulsed their attack easily. Farnsworth was to follow, but he was astonished to hear Kilpatrick's order for a mounted cavalry charge. The Confederate defenders were positioned behind a stone fence with wooden fence rails piled high above it, too high for horses to jump, which would require the attackers to dismount under fire and dismantle the fence. The terrain leading to it was broken, undulating ground, with large boulders, fences, and woodlots, making it unsuitable for a cavalry charge. Accounts differ as to the details of the argument between Farnsworth and Kilpatrick, but it is generally believed that Kilpatrick dared or shamed Farnsworth into making the charge the latter knew would be suicidal. Farnsworth allegedly said "General, if you order the charge I will lead it, but you must take the awful responsibility." ⎝]
First in the assault was the 1st West Virginia Cavalry, led by Colonel Nathaniel P. Richmond. They rode in great confusion after coming under heavy fire from the 1st Texas, but they were able to breach the wall. Hand-to-hand fighting with sabers, rifles, and even rocks ensued, but the attack was forced back. Of the 400 Federal cavalrymen in the attack, there were 98 casualties. The second wave came from the 18th Pennsylvania, supported by companies of the 5th New York, but they were also turned back under heavy rifle fire, with 20 casualties. ⎞]
It was finally the turn of the 1st Vermont Cavalry, about 400 officers and men, which Farnsworth divided into three battalions of four companies each under Lieutenant Colonel Addison W. Preston, Major William Wells, and Captain Henry C. Parsons. Parsons's battalion led the charge, passing the Texans and riding north into the blinding sun toward the John Slyder farm. Evander Law sent three Georgia regiments (the 9th, 11th, and 59th) to move to the support of the Texans and the artillery batteries. A staff officer carrying the order encountered the 4th Alabama, who also joined in support. An Alabama lieutenant yelled "Cavalry, boys, cavalry! This is no fight, only a frolic, give it to them!" And the infantrymen found many easy targets. ⎟]
All three battalion advances were turned back with great losses. The final group, led by Wells and by Farnsworth, circled back toward Big Round Top, where they met a line of the 15th Alabama across their front. Farnsworth's party had dwindled to only 10 troopers as they weaved back and forth, trying to avoid the murderous fire. Farnsworth fell from his horse, struck in the chest, abdomen, and leg by five bullets. Postwar accounts by a Confederate soldier that claimed Farnsworth committed suicide with his pistol to avoid capture have been discounted. Major Wells received the Medal of Honor for his heroism in leading the rest of his men back to safety. The Vermont regiment suffered 65 casualties during the futile assault. ⎠]
Kilpatrick's ill-considered and poorly executed cavalry charges are remembered as a low point in the history of the U.S. Cavalry and marked the final significant hostilities at the Battle of Gettysburg. Six miles (10 km) west of Gettysburg, one of Merritt's regiments, the 6th U.S. Cavalry, was defeated that afternoon at Fairfield by Brig. Gen. William E. "Grumble" Jones's "Laurel Brigade," an action not considered to be a formal part of the Battle of Gettysburg, but one that had a critical role in the retreat of Lee's army. ⎡]
All of Pleasonton's cavalry brigades were exercised for the remainder of the Gettysburg Campaign in the lackluster pursuit of Lee's army back across the Potomac River. ⎢]
The cavalry battle at Gettysburg, 3rd July, 3.30 p.m. - History
A true cavalier in every sense of the word, General Stuart was one of the more flamboyant horsemen in either army. Following closely behind his advance scouts, Stuart led his horsemen down unfamiliar county roads and farm lanes until they came upon a thick wood at the Rummel Farm. South of his position, General Stuart spotted Union artillery being unlimbered on a small knoll.
Beyond the artillery rose clouds of dust and Stuart quickly realized that he had been spotted. Ordering his artillery forward, Stuart decided to use Rummel's Woods to protect his troopers until he could determine the size of the force in his front. Meanwhile, he deployed dismounted troopers into the Rummel Farm to engage Union skirmishers already posted behind fences.
Union scouts watched as Stuart's columns rode into position and deployed in the fields around the Rummel buildings. Brig. General David McMurtie Gregg's troops had been posted on the Hanover Road until 1 P.M. when they were ordered to march to a location south of Gettysburg. Gregg was in the act of withdrawing his troops when Stuart's horsemen arrived. Gregg immediately countermanded the orders and deployed his artillery and dismounted troopers into the fields near the intersection of the Hanover Road and Low Dutch Road. Immediately a brisk fire opened between opponents. Hoping to press his advantage of surprise, General Stuart ordered his artillery to suppress the fire of the Union guns while he aligned his troops to push aside the apparently weak Union troops. But the Union response was extraordinarily accurate and the Northern artillery began to knock out the Confederate gun crews one by one.
|East Cavalry Field and Battle of Gettysburg Map|
|East Cavalry Field and Battle of Gettysburg Map. Digitally Enhanced by thomaslegion.net|
|A Union cavalry charge at Gettysburg|
|Union cavalry charge at Gettysburg. Battles and Leaders.|
|Gregg Cavalry Monument at Gettysburg|
|Gregg Cavalry Monument at Gettysburg. Gettysburg NMP.|
Fighting on foot, the cavalrymen of both sides dueled in the fields of the Rummel Farm with neither side gaining any advantage. Growing frustrated at his attempts to brush aside the Union troopers, General Stuart ordered his soldiers to go forward in a mounted attack. Yet every appearance of his Confederates in the open fields was met with cannon fire and by a Union counter charge. Among Gregg's troops east of Gettysburg that afternoon was the Michigan Brigade commanded by a brash young officer named George Armstrong Custer. Custer was a newly appointed brigadier general of volunteers and Gettysburg was his first experience in command of troops in battle. Dressed in a personally designed new uniform, the fiery young officer led his troopers through the fighting and was notable for being in the forefront of the repeated Union charges over the Rummel Farm.
(Left) Photo of the Gregg Cavalry Shaft Monument. It was here where Stuart's column and the 1st Michigan Cavalry violently collided on July 3. Gettysburg NMP .
With time running out and ammunition running low among some his troopers, General Stuart wagered that one last charge using most of his force would overwhelm the Union line and hopefully scatter what appeared to be a thinly held crossroad. All of his brigades rode into the field in front of Rummel Woods, their sabers and carbines glistening in the hazy sunlight. With the command, "Battalions, forward!" the southern horsemen moved off toward the smoking Union position. Almost immediately, Union artillery turned their guns on the massed columns, explosions striking down man and animal alike. Seeing the gray column coming toward them, General Custer excitedly rode to the head of the 1st Michigan Cavalry. With the cry, "Come on, you Wolverines!", he spurred his horse directly toward the Confederate charge and the Union horsemen followed with sabers flashing in the afternoon sun. The Michigan soldiers drove headlong into Stuart's determined troopers. In the melee that followed, the soldiers shot, slashed, and stabbed each other at close range.
|Battle of Gettysburg Civil War Map|
|Gettysburg Battlefield Map, July 1-3, 1863|
|East Cavalry Battlefield|
|Battle of East Cavalry Field|
(Right) Picture of Stuart's artillery positions on Confederate Avenue in Rummel Woods. Gettysburg NMP .
Suddenly, a Federal force appeared on the flank of the Confederates. A battalion of Union troopers from the 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry commanded by Captain William E. Miller, broke from the cover of a tree line and charged headlong into the southern rear. Attacked from three sides and nearly surrounded, there was nothing left for the southerners to do but retreat. Watching the dismal results of the charge from Rummel Woods, General Stuart ordered his cavalry to leave the field to the battered but victorious Union cavalry. The South's greatest cavalry leader had finally met his match.
A Collision of Extraordinary Talent
|Gen. G. A. Custer|
|Generals in Blue|
Custer returned to the regular army after the war and reverted to a lower rank than he had held as a leader of volunteers. He was ordered to frontier posts in the west where he was assigned to command a portion of the 7th United States Cavalry. In the often brutal campaigns against the plains Indians, Lt. Colonel Custer found a cunning and deceptive enemy that he had difficulty understanding and fighting. Controversy surrounding claims over the Black Hills of South Dakota and Montana caused an uprising of the nations in 1876 and a US Army force, including the 7th Cavalry, was sent in pursuit of the combined tribes, resulting in a number of pitched battles. On June 25, 1876, Custer and most of the men who followed him were killed at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in Montana. General Custer's remains were recovered from the battlefield for burial at West Point.
|Generals in Gray|
|East Cavalry Field|
|East Cavalry Field, Battle of Gettysburg|
|East Cavalry Field, Battle of Gettysburg|
|East Cavalry Field, Battle of Gettysburg|
|East Cavalry Field|
|East Cavalry Field, Battle of Gettysburg|
Recommended Reading : Protecting the Flanks: The Battles for Brinkerhoff's Ridge and East Cavalry Field, Battle of Gettysburg , July 2-3, 1863 (Discovering Civil War America ). Description: Award-winning historian Eric J. Wittenberg has written a comprehensive study of the critical actions on Brinkerhoff's Ridge and East Cavalry Field, fought on July 2 and 3, 1863. In these actions, Union Brig. Gen. David M. Gregg's Second Cavalry Division fought two protracted and important actions along the Union right flank. The fight for Brinkerhoff's Ridge, although relatively small in numbers, prevented the legendary Stonewall Brigade from participating in the Confederate assaults on Culp's Hill, perhaps tipping the balance in the struggle for the hill. Continued below.
Wittenberg presents a new and controversial theory for why Maj. Gen. JEB Stuart's Confederate cavalry appeared on Cress Ridge on East Cavalry Field on the afternoon of July 3, 1863. After a long and bloody dismounted fight, Brig. Gen. George Armstrong Custer's Michigan Cavalry Brigade helped to repulse a massed mounted charge by three brigades of Southern horsemen, securing the Union right flank, and helping to clinch the Northern victory at Gettysburg. Wittenberg weaves the stories of soldiers together with a keen understanding of the terrain and presents a compelling story that features six fine maps by John C. Heiser and forty illustrations. The book also includes a driving tour guide of the Brinkerhoff's Ridge and East Cavalry Field battlefields that includes an additional twenty photographs of modern-day views of these sites. This book is a must for all Gettysburg and cavalry buffs. About the Author: Eric J. Wittenberg is a native of southeastern Pennsylvania . He has spent much of his adult life studying cavalry operations in the Gettysburg Campaign. His first book, " Gettysburg 's Forgotten Cavalry Actions," won the third annual Bachelder-Coddington Literary Award as the best new work interpreting the Battle of Gettysburg in 1998. In addition, he has written numerous books and articles. Eric was educated at Dickinson College and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He is an attorney in private practice. Eric, wife Susan, and their three golden retrievers live in Columbus , Ohio .
US History - Gettysburg Test Topic 3
WHAT WENT WRONG:
JUNE 21: Lee lost contact with Stuart. Lee was depending on Stuart to let him know when the Northern Army began to move, but Stuart was trapped behind the northern lines (had to go almost to D.C. to get around them).
. Lee was non-committal. Stuart made a bad decision.
Pettigrew told Heth and Hill that there was a major federal force there, but they did not believe him and decided to take a larger force and go into Gettysburg the next morning to get the shoes.
Solomon "Long Sol" Meredeth (6'7" tall)
Defying Meade's orders, Dan Sickles (Third corps) moved his men off the Cemetery Ridge, and into the Wheatfield and peach orchard creating a salient.
Lee felt that Meade had reinforced on his flanks, and therefore the union position would be weak in the center.
Lee ordered a massive artillery barrage at the union center.
This would be followed y a full charge of 15,000 men (2 divisions from Hill's corps and Picket's from Longstreet), to break the union lines on cemetery ridge. Longstreet was to command the assault.
Stuart's cavalry would assist the assault and possibly operate against the rear of the union army.
Picket, Trimble, and Pettigrew — aim for the "copse of trees"
1. Pettigrew's and Trimble's divisions got annihilated on the Emmetsburg road.
2. Picket's division had to preform an "oblique turn" under deadly fire.
3. His rear brigade (Armistead) made it to "The Angle" in the Union lines.
Armistead put his hat on his sword ad charged over the angle.
Armistead's brigade briefly penetrated the union lines but were then driven back.
Armistead is mortally wounded.
All of Picket, Pettigrew, and Trimble's men withdraw.
On the morning of July 4 (the same day Vicksburg falls to General Grant (N) Lee organized the removal of the wounded. By 4:00 pm the 17 mile long wagon train of wounded had left (it took 34 hours for it to pass a given point).
As night fell,t he South began to leave Hill, followed by Longstreet, followed by Ewell (who was not clear of the battlefield until 10:00 am on July 5).
The rain prevented the North from following too closely.
On July 7, Lee reached the Potomac but it was in flood and he could not cross so he built strong fortifications.
Meade arrived but delayed attacking until July 14th, which was too late for Lee had finally been able to cross
TOTAL NUMBER OF CASUALTIES
Killed, wounded, missing — 51,000
This is an estimate because really accurate records are hard to come by.
14,529 Wounded (many of whom would soon die of their wounds)
5,365 Missing (and presumed dead)
18,735 Wounded (many of whom would soon die of their wounds)
5,425 Missing (and presumed dead)
UNION WEST VIRGINIA VOLUNTEERS
Overview: Organized December, 1861. Attached to Railroad District, West Virginia, to March, 1862. Railroad District, Mountain Department, to May, 1862. Unattached, Mountain Department, to June, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 1st Army Corps, Army of Virginia, to September, 1862 (Cos. "A" and "C"). District of West Virginia, Dept. of the Ohio and Dept. of West Virginia. Unassigned, to March, 1864 (Regiment). Milroy's Command, Winchester, Va., 8th Army Corps, Middle Department, to February, 1863 (Cos. "D" and "E"). 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 8th Army Corps, to June, 1863 (Cos. "D" and "E"). 4th Separate Brigade, 8th Army Corps, to June, 1864 (Cos. "F," "H" and "I"). 4th Separate Brigade, Dept. of West Virginia, to December, 1863 (Cos. "F," "H" and "I"). Bloody Run, Pa., Dept. of the Susquehanna, and Scammon's Division, Dept. of West Virginia, to July, 1863 (Cos. "D" and "E"). McReynolds' Command, Martinsburg, W. Va., Dept. or West Virginia, to December, 1863 (Cos. "D" and "E"). 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, West Virginia (1 Co.). 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, West Virginia (3 Cos.). 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, West Virginia (2 Cos.), to March, 1864. 3rd Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division, West Virginia, to May, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division, West Virginia, to November, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Corps, Middle Military Division, to February, 1865. 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac, to June, 1865. Companies "A" and "C" attached to Headquarters, 11th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, September, 1862, to December, 1862. Headquarters, Grand Reserve Division, Army of the Potomac, to February, 1863. 3rd Brigade, Cavalry Division, 22nd Army Corps, to June, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac, to November, 1863. Ordered to Dept. of West Virginia November, 1863.
Service: Duty in Railroad District, Mountain Department, to May, 1862. Monterey April 12. Skirmish at Grass Lick, W. Va., April 23. Franklin May 5. Raid to Shaver River May 30 (Detachment). Strasburg and Staunton Road June 1-2. Harrisonburg June 6. Cross Keys June 8. Near Mt. Jackson June 13. Pope's Virginia Campaign August 16-September 2. Groveton August 29. Bull Run August 30. Aldie October 9. Near Bristoe Station October 24. Chester Gap November 16. Dumfries December 12. Wardensville December 22 and 25. Petersburg, W. Va., January 3, 1863 (Detachment). Williamsport, Md., February 9. Truce Fork, Mud River, W. Va., February 20. Winchester March 19. Reconnoissance toward Wardensville and Strasburg April 20. Fisher's Hill, Strasburg Road, April 22. Lambert's Run April 22. Near Simpson's Creek April 30. Grove Church May 4. Janelew May 5 (Co. "E"). Strasburg May 6. Operations about Front Royal, Road Ford and Buck's Ford, May 12-16. Piedmont Station May 16. Brandy Station and Beverly Ford June 9. Winchester June 13-15 (Cos. "D" and "E"). Upperville June 21. Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 1-3. Boonesborough, Md., July 8. Benevola or Beaver Creek July 9. Funkstown July 10-13. Williamsport July 14. Shanghai, W. Va., July 16. Near Hedgesville and Martinsburg July 18-19 (Co. "C"). Hagerstown July 29. Hancock July 31. Kelly's Ford July 31-August 1. Brandy Station August 1. Averill's Raid through Hardy, Pendleton, Highland, Greenbrier, Bath and Pocahontas Counties, W. Va., August 5-25 (Cos. "E," "H" and "I"). Affair near Franklin August 19. Jackson River August 25. Williamsport, Md., August 26. Expedition to Leesburg August 30-September 2. Advance to the Rapldan September 13-17 (Cos. "A" and "C"). Culpeper Court House September 13 (Cos. "A" and "C"). Fisher's Hill September 21. Bristoe Campaign October 9-22 (Cos. "A" and "C"). Morton's Ford October 10 (Cos. "A" and "C"). Stevensburg and near Kelly's Ford October 11 (Cos. "A" and "C"). Brandy Station October 11 (Cos. "A" and "C"). Brandy Station and Fleetwood October 12 (Cos. "A" and "C"). Auburn and Bristoe October 14 (Cos. "A" and "C"). Oak Hill October 15 (Cos. "A" and "C"). Averill's Raid against Lewisburg and the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad November 1-17 (Cos. "E," "H" and "I"). Cackletown November 4 (Cos. "E," "H" and "I"). Droop Mountain November 6 (Cos. "E," "H" and "I"). Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8 (Cos. "A" and "C"). Near Little Boston November 24 (Detachment). Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2 (Cos. "A" and "C"). Averill's Raid from New Creek to Salem and Virginia & Tennessee Railroad December 8-25 (Cos. "E," "F" and "H"). Scammon's Demonstration from Kanawha Valley December 8-25 (Detachment). Near Wayne Court House, W. Va., January 27, 1864 (Co. "G"). Near Hurricane Bridge February 20. Averill's Raid on Virginia & Tennessee Railroad May 5-19. Grassy Lick, Cove Mountain, near Wytheville, May 10. Wytheville May 10. Hunter's Raid to Lynchburg May 26-July 1. Hamlin May 29. Lexington June 11. Near Buchanan June 13. Otter Creek, near Liberty, June 16. Diamond Hill June 17. Lynchburg June 17-18. Liberty June 19. Buford's Gap June 20. Catawba Mountains and about Salem June 21. Snicker's Ferry July 17-18. Bunker Hill July 19. Stephenson's Depot July 21. Winchester July 21-22. Newtown July 22. Kernstown, Winchester, July 24. Martinsburg July 26. McConnellsburg, Pa., July 30. Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign August 7-November 28. Near Moorefield August 7. Franklin August 19. Martinsburg August 25. Williamsport August 26. Big Springs August 29. Martinsburg August 31. Bunker Hill September 2-3. Martinsburg September 4. Stephenson's Depot September 5. Darkesville September 10. Bunker Hill September 13. Near Berryville September 14. Battle of Winchester September 19. Fisher's Hill September 22. Mt. Jackson September 23-24. Forest Hill or Timberville September 24. Browns Gap and Mt. Sidney September 26. Weyer's Cave September 26-27. Charlestown September 27. Mt. Jackson September 28. Nineveh November 12. Rude's Hill November 20. Near Mt. Jackson November 22. Raid to Gordonsville December 19-28. Liberty Mills December 22. Jack's Shop, near Gordonsville, December 23. Sheridan's Expedition from Winchester February 25-March 25, 1865. Mt. Crawford March 1. Occupation of Staunton March 2. Waynesboro March 2. Charlottesville March 3. Augusta Court House March 10. Haydensville March 12. Beaver Dam Station March 15. Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9. Dinwiddie Court House March 29-31. Five Forks April 1. Namozine Church April 3. Sailor's Creek April 6. Appomattox Station April 8. Appomattox Courthouse April 9. Surrender of Lee and his army. Expedition to Danville April 23-29. March to Washington, D. C., May. Grand Review May 23. Mustered out June 23, 1865.
Regiment lost during service 6 Officers and 40 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 136 Enlisted men by disease. Total 132. Soldiers: View Battle Unit's Soldiers »
Gettysburg Retreat: Cavalry in the Spotlight
The 10-day retreat of the Army of Northern Virginia that began on July 4, 1863, is a virtually forgotten part of the Gettysburg story. Naturally, this has led to a lean amount of interpreted points of interest about its history. Most of the sites are in an area of western Maryland that is primarily associated with the Battle of Antietam and related actions. In addition, the Battle of Gettysburg itself has such allure for historians and enthusiasts that it significantly overshadows what happened in the immediate aftermath. However, the successful withdrawal into Virginia of Lee’s hobbled but still powerful army and the failure of Northern forces to destroy or trap his force led to almost two more years of war. For that reason, the retreat is finally beginning to receive the attention it is due.
This is the third of a three-part “In Their Footsteps” series on the role of Union and Confederate cavalry during Robert E. Lee’s second invasion of the North. The first part (August 2005) traced points of interest connected with the opposing cavalry forces as they crossed the Potomac River and battled their way to Gettysburg. The second part (July 2006) covered the cavalry engagements that took place during the three-day battle, extending from the opening confrontation on July 1 between Union cavalry and Confederate infantry to the significant clashes on the sites now known as the East and South Cavalry Battlefields on the afternoon of July 3.
This final installment will chronicle the important role the cavalries played in Lee’s retreat and the Federal pursuit, ending with the Rebel army’s final stand along the Potomac on July 14 before it slipped back into Virginia.
Our tour starts at Gettysburg and ends in the vicinity of Martinsburg, W.Va. From there, one also can explore nearby battlefields in Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley or simply enjoy the lush scenery and abundant recreational resources of the Appalachian foothills. A car is necessary since there are no regular bus tours tracing the retreat. It takes about a day to drive the route, depending on the time of year and the time devoted to side trips. Because there are many opportunities for cycling side trips, some travelers may wish to bring along their bikes.
Take Pa. 116 west from Gettysburg to Fairfield. (The cavalry battle that took place here on July 3 is described in the August 2005 installment.) Continue south on Pa. 116 from Fairfield to Pa. 16, turn right and travel west for 3.1 miles. Veer right onto Old Waynesboro Road and into Fountain Dale.
On July 4, Lee’s wagon trains began moving west out of Gettysburg ahead of his troops, with heavy thunderstorms adding to the misery of the departing army. The hospital train, guarded by the cavalry of Brig. Gen. John D. Imboden, headed northwest toward Cashtown. The procession of the wounded was hounded by Colonel J. Irvin Gregg’s brigade from Brig. Gen. David McMurtrie Gregg’s 2nd Division and other Union cavalry units that had been scattered when Brig. Gen. Robert Milroy was driven from Harpers Ferry during the Second Battle of Winchester in mid-June. The Rebel supply trains, followed by a majority of the infantry and artillery, headed west through Fairfield.
Major General George Meade began formulating a plan to cut off the retreat by way of Middletown, Md. A small Federal force was also advancing east from West Virginia via Hancock, Md., but the Army of the Potomac’s cavalry was the principal instrument of pursuit.
The 3rd Division, under Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick, was the first to engage the retreating Rebels. At Emmitsburg, Md., his two brigades were joined by Colonel Pennock Huey’s brigade from the 2nd Division, which had been guarding the cavalry train in Maryland during the Gettysburg battle. Late on July 4, Kilpatrick caught up with the train on the road to Monterey Pass, held by a single Napoleon and a few troopers of Company B, 1st Maryland Cavalry, under Captain George Emack.
The cavalry brigades of Brig. Gens. Beverly Holcombe Robertson and William “Grumble” Jones, which Lee had left in Maryland to guard the South Mountain passes, were sent to confront Kilpatrick however, only a few could get through because the long wagon train blocked the way.
The brigades of Brig. Gens. George Custer and the late Elon Farnsworth (now under Colonel Nathaniel Richmond’s command) dismounted and fought their way to the hilltop against stubborn resistance by Emack, Jones and the few troopers able to get through to help. Custer then led a mounted charge on the trains of Maj. Gen. Robert Rodes’ Division. The running battle during a downpour in the early morning hours of July 5 netted Kilpatrick about 250 quartermaster and ambulance wagons and nearly 1,400 prisoners, mostly teamsters and wounded troops.
Seasonal walking tours of the battle at Monterey Pass are available (see contact information at the end of the column), but the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is developing a more detailed examination of the conflict as it attempts to get its Civil War Trails (CWT) program underway. Nearby Fountain Dale is where Custer’s 1st Michigan ventured north of the Emmitsburg–Waynesboro Turnpike—present-day Old Waynesboro Road—toward Fairfield and briefly clashed with Robertson’s 5th North Carolina near the present-day Fountain Dale firehouse. The advance up the mountain by Kilpatrick’s main force was contested by Emack’s small command along the turnpike, near the crest of the hill where the Holy Memorial Presbyterian Church is now located. Fighting occurred around Monterey House, a resort hotel that has been replaced by a modern one-story home on the southeast corner of Charmian Road and Monterey Lane. Five hundred yards to the west and set back on the south side of Charmian Road is the still-extant tollhouse that was used as a hospital after the battle.
A short distance on the right is the Lions Club’s Rolando Woods Park. Custer attacked the wagon train in this area. The sunken lane emerging from the wooded area near the park’s kitchen was the original road trace.
Reenter Pa. 16 just west of the park. From Monterey, continue west about six miles on Pa. 16 to the intersection with Midvale Road in Rouzerville. Turn left (south) on Midvale Road, which becomes Md. 418 upon crossing the Maryland state line. Kilpatrick burned some of the captured Rebel wagons in this area. Ringgold (formerly Ridgeville) is where he rested briefly before retiring to Smithsburg. Travel south from Ringgold on Md. 64 to reach the Raven Rock Road intersection.
In Smithsburg the Unionist townspeople fed and serenaded the hungry, tired troopers, preparing a barbeque with captured cattle. One trooper described that reception following hard fighting as “an oasis in the desert.” Kilpatrick, however, was wary that Stuart’s cavalry remained a threat. He posted lookouts and placed his three brigades facing east. Stuart’s force rode from Gettysburg via Emmitsburg through a little-used pass in South Mountain at Raven Rock. At about 5 p.m. on July 5, the Confederates advanced on Huey’s brigade, which was guarding the northernmost pass. The Rebel horse artillery unlimbered on high ground and began shelling the Federal positions, with shots also falling in Smithsburg.
Kilpatrick brought other units to Huey’s aid, but Stuart had Colonel John R. Chambliss’ brigade flank Huey to the north. Kilpatrick then withdrew his forces and the captured ambulances to Boonsboro, leaving Stuart in possession of the field and the town.
Md. 77 now runs through the mountain pass that Stuart’s cavalry used. East of Smithsburg along Raven Rock Road is where Kilpatrick’s troopers organized their defense. The Federal artillery was placed in what is now a housing development on E. Water Street. An orchard now sits on the ground east of Md. 66, which was occupied at the time by the Confederate horse artillery. The battle is described by Maryland CWT tablets a mile west of the center of Smithsburg on W. Water Street (Md. 66) in Veterans Park. Several homes in Smithsburg sustained damage when they were shelled by the Confederate guns. A brick home at 25 E. Water Street still displays a shell from that action. The Bell house, now the Smithsburg Branch Bank in the center of town, was used as a hospital during the engagement.
Proceed northwest on Md. 77 to Leitersburg. A Maryland CWT marker at 21600 Ringgold and Md. 418 north of Leitersburg describes a raid on the Confederate trains here by the 1st Vermont cavalry, sent just before dawn on July 5 to find the head of the Confederate column. The Vermont horsemen were led from Monterey Pass by a young civilian, C.H. Buhrman. The entire Confederate army passed Leitersburg on the road from Waynesboro to Hagerstown. On July 10, a force under Union Colonel John B. McIntosh skirmished with local Rebel militia near here.
From Leitersburg, drive southwest on Md. 60 to Hagerstown. Kilpatrick, upon arriving in nearby Boonsboro, received reports that a Confederate wagon train was moving to Hagerstown. At the same time, Brig. Gen. John Buford’s three brigades were marching on South Mountain from the east, headed for Williamsport. A detachment of cavalry from the VIII Corps had destroyed the Confederate pontoon bridge at Falling Waters, creating an opportunity to trap the retreating Rebels in front of the rising Potomac. The Confederate prisoners from Monterey Pass were sent to Frederick, and Kilpatrick advanced on Hagerstown via Funkstown. Upon learning of Buford’s approach, Kilpatrick rode back to Boonsboro to inform Buford of his plans. They decided to have each column continue to its objective, then try to join forces.
Stuart sent elements of two brigades to contest the Federal advance on Hagerstown while keeping the rest of his troopers to the east, hoping to flank Kilpatrick. Four regiments of Union cavalry, supported by artillery, kept Confederate Colonel Milton J. Ferguson’s men tied up while Richmond’s brigade advanced up Potomac Street, which the Rebels had barricaded.
In the van of the Federal cavalry was the 18th Pennsylvania and the adventurous Captain Ulric Dahlgren. He had made contact with Kilpatrick in Boonsboro after staging successful raids in Pennsylvania’s Cumberland Valley during the Battle of Gettysburg.
The fight in Hagerstown was a house-to-house street battle. Some citizens of the town’s divided population entered the fray. The Confederates continued to give ground until reinforced by Brig. Gen. Alfred Iverson, whom Lee sent ahead when he realized there was imminent danger to his wagon trains. The tide of the battle began to turn for the South with the arrival of Iverson, as well as Brig. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee’s cavalry, which tore into Huey’s brigade and then Custer’s, guarding Kilpatrick’s left flank west of Hagerstown. The timely arrival of these reinforcements forced both Kilpatrick and Buford, in front of Williamsport, to withdraw through Jones’ Crossroads.
At 6 N. Potomac Street is the Hagerstown/ Washington County Visitor Center, which has two CWT tablets on one of its walls describing the Hagerstown battle. The Confederate barricade was placed across Potomac Street just north of Baltimore Street. Half-a-block north is St. John’s Lutheran Church, a landmark structure during the battle. Washington County Hospital sits on the location of Hagerstown Female Seminary, where troopers from the 1st Vermont, 5th New York and Elder’s battery held off Colonel Ferguson’s force.
At the northeast corner of Potomac and Washington streets, a marker relates the story of the $20,000 ransom paid by city fathers to a contingent of Lt. Gen. Jubal Early’s invasion force on July 8, 1864. At Zion Reformed Church, N. Potomac and Church streets, also extant during the battle, a sign indicates the position to which the Rebel cavalry withdrew until reinforced by Iverson. Confederate troopers fired from behind headstones in the church cemetery before Iverson’s arrival.
Leave Hagerstown on U.S. 11 South and drive to Williamsport. At Halfway Boulevard on U.S. 11 was the old turnpike tollgate, where Lee headquartered later in the campaign and Fitzhugh Lee challenged Custer’s cavalry on July 6.
Buford’s all-day ride on July 6 brought his forces up the Williamsport–Boonsboro Road in front of Williamsport. By then General Imboden had arrived at the head of the hospital train coming down the Williamsport– Greencastle Road and assumed the defense of Williamsport from Jones, who had been separated from his command at Monterey Pass and was organizing wagon crossings by ferry over the rain-swollen Potomac.
Imboden had few effective troops but received the cooperation of wounded officers in the hospital train in organizing teamsters, wagoners and wounded soldiers into what was wryly designated “Company Q.” Buford placed Brig. Gen. Wesley Merritt on the right and Colonel William Gamble on the left, with Colonel Thomas Devin in reserve, and the engagement began with skirmishing around St. James College about 5 p.m. Imboden brought a number of artillery pieces into a line and presented an imposing defense.
The Federals advanced slowly. The 3rd Indiana veered off to the left and captured 27 forage wagons on Downsville Road. But that would be the extent of the Union success. As Gamble’s men fought on the Williams farm, Merritt’s position became untenable when he and Custer could not link up and Lee’s cavalry forced them back. Merritt, followed by Gamble, withdrew under Devin’s rear guard. Buford and Kilpatrick fell back to Jones’ Crossroads in a tangled mess.
The events in Williamsport are primarily interpreted at the C&O Canal National Historical Park Visitor Center. Maryland CWT markers are located near the center. Park rangers can provide information about walking the towpaths, riding on canal boats and other activities. When the Potomac began to subside on July 13, Lee had cavalry and some infantry ford the river here and to the north of the mouth of Conococheague Creek. Prior to the crossing, many wounded stayed in town buildings that had been turned into hospitals, such as the Taylor House Hotel, now a commercial building, and the German Lutheran Church. Most of the wagons waiting to cross were parked in the bottoms west of the canal, now part of the national park.
On U.S. 11 east of Williamsport, a Maryland historical marker describes the battle. It is in front of a Catholic church that replaced one on the same site during the battle. This is the point to which Merritt advanced before Fitzhugh Lee forced him back.
Leave Williamsport to the southeast via Md. 68. At the intersection of Md. 68 near the I-81 crossing was the Williams farm. The so-called Wagoner’s Fight is interpreted by a Maryland CWT display in the Redman facility parking lot (Md. 68 and Md. 632 near I-81).
About a mile east of this intersection is St. James College. The current structures are post–Civil War. Beyond that, at the intersection with Md. 65, is Jones’ Crossroads, where Federal cavalry gathered to reorganize after retreating from Williamsport. There are CWT markers in the parking lot of the store on the southwest corner of this intersection. A Maryland historical marker on the northwest corner of the intersection describes how on July 12 Union cavalry under Huey as well as infantry skirmished with entrenched Confederate cavalry.
Continue on Md. 68 to Boonsboro. On July 8 Lee sent Stuart forward to delay the Federals here as he and his engineers were directing the construction of fortifications on what would become the Williamsport line behind March Creek. As Federal infantry and artillery were beginning to cross South Mountain, Stuart attacked along the National Road, with Jones’ troopers opening the fight by midmorning. That evening Buford’s men, reinforced by Custer, pushed Stuart back across Beaver Creek. The action, however, bought Lee much-needed time.
A CWT tablet in front of Shafer Park, on Alt. U.S. 40 in Boonsboro, interprets the action here. Meade established a headquarters north of Boonsboro. A CWT marker at Devil’s Backbone Park, on Md. 68 north of Boonsboro, provides more information. The result of Meade’s council of war here on July 13 was a decision not to attack Lee’s fortified and formidable Williamsport line. Instead, well ahead of their supply base, the Union troops began to entrench.
Return to Alt. U.S. 40 and drive northwest to Funkstown. On the morning of July 10, following the repulse of Stuart at Boonsboro and Beaver Creek, Buford advanced his cavalry, joined later by a brigade of VI Corps infantry, to Funkstown. Stuart pressed two Georgia regiments from Longstreet’s corps into service to aid his cavalry troopers and horse artillery. Union cannons shelled the Confederate line, and shots fell on the town. By dark the Confederates withdrew into Funkstown after sustaining heavy casualties. The Federals, however, did not advance to disrupt the construction of Rebel fortifications west of Funkstown.
The CWT markers for the battle are in the Lions Club parking lot on Alt. U.S. 40, just north of the I-70 exit. Several buildings in town were used to treat Confederate wounded, including the German Reformed Church, the Chaney house (now an antique shop) and the Keller house, all on Baltimore Street. At the Keller home, Confederate Major H.D. McDaniels, later governor of Georgia, was treated for a serious abdominal wound.
From Funkstown take Oak Ridge Drive west to Md. 632, turn left and drive south to Downsville. Turn right on Natural Well Road to the intersection with Falling Waters Road. Turn left and follow this road to its end in the C&O NHP.
As his army was establishing the Williamsport defensive line, Lee also ordered the construction of a pontoon bridge. The bridge was assembled at Falling Waters, a bend in the river that marked a well-used crossing point before and during the war. On July 13, Lee had the remaining wagons, artillery and some infantry march down the C&O towpath to cross at Falling Waters. Other units followed a road from the direction of Downsville. Lee left a rear guard in place— the divisions of Maj. Gens. Heth and Pender, then commanded by Brig. Gens. James J. Pettigrew and James H. Lane, respectively.
Early on the morning of July 14, Kilpatrick reconnoitered Williamsport and observed the empty trenches and the last of the cavalry crossing the river. He rode along the river and found the rear guard’s position at Falling Waters. Custer wanted to dismount and advance cautiously, but Kilpatrick ordered a mounted charge by the 6th Michigan. In the opening melee, the much-admired General Pettigrew—whose substantial role in Pickett’s Charge on July 3 is often overlooked— was mortally wounded. More of Kilpatrick’s men, joined by Buford’s troopers, pressed the rear guard, but the Confederates stiffened, and the two Rebel divisions made it across the river.
The interpretive signs for Falling Waters are on the C&O Canal towpath and can be reached only by foot. The two divisions of the rear guard occupied the ground in the horseshoe bend of the river within the current national park. From this area, drive north on Falling Waters Road, then northwest on Md. 63 and Md. 68 to Williamsport. Cross the river on U.S. 11 South. About 11⁄2 miles south of where I-81 crosses U.S. 11 is a turnoff to the left for a narrow road called Encampment Avenue. Under the railroad bridge here a stream drops over a rocky ledge that gives Falling Waters its name. It is on the West Virginia side of the river, where Lee’s wagons and men came off the bridge and moved to the nearby Valley Turnpike.
Once Lee had succeeded in getting his army across the Potomac, Meade’s strategy also had to change. He ordered his infantry, artillery and some cavalry across the Potomac on pontoon bridges laid at Berlin, Md. (present-day Brunswick). A sign at the MARC railroad station in Brunswick describes the crossing and the town’s importance as a Federal logistics center. A section of the C&O Canal is also visible at this point.
On July 15 and 16, General Gregg’s three brigades crossed the Potomac at Harpers Ferry and engaged Confederate cavalry on the road to Charles Town and in Shepherdstown.
So how was Lee able to escape with nearly all of his army intact? The Federal pursuit was daunting, with cavalry dogging his every move under Buford, Kilpatrick and Custer. Ted Alexander, NPS historian at Antietam National Battlefield, has long studied Lee’s retreat route. Alexander attributes Lee’s getaway to Stuart’s excellent screening of Lee’s retreat, during which he sparred with Federal cavalry and kept most of Meade’s army at bay.
Originally published in the July 2007 issue of Civil War Times. To subscribe, click here.
18th Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment
The 18th Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment lost 5 officers and 55 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 2 officers and 232 enlisted men to disease during the Civil War.
It is honored by a monument at Gettysburg. From the monument: “Participated with the armies of the Potomac and Shenandoah in 51 battles, and out of a total enrollment of 2020, lost in killed, died, wounded and prisoners 668, of whom 131 died in the hands of the enemy while prisoners of war.”
Battle of Gettysburg
The regiment was commanded at Gettysburg by Lieutenant Colonel William Penn Brinton.
The Regiment participated in the cavalry fights at Hanover June 30th and Hunterstown July 2d 1863. On July 3d occupied this position, and in the afternoon charged with the brigade upon the enemy’s infantry behind the stone wall to the north of this point on the outer edge of the woods. Present at Gettysburg 599 officers and men. Killed 2 men, wounded 4 men, captured or missing 8 men.