Saturday, June 8, 2013

June 8, 1863

June 8, 1863

---Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, Lee’s Chief of Cavalry, is disappointed that his grand review three days previous was not seen by the commanding general.  Today, Lee is available, and Stuart holds another grand review at Brandy Station.  In grand array, in a line 3 miles long, Stuart’s troopers parade before the grandstand, where General Lee, other officers, and civilians witness the cavalcade.  Also in attendance is Gen. Hood’s division, drawn up in formation. 

Stuart and his cavaliers on a raid

Meanwhile, Gen. Hooker has asked Gen. Alfred Pleasonton to launch a cavalry strike at Brandy Station, since the Yankees know that Stuart has gathered his whole force here.  Pleasonton divides his force into two columns---one under Brig. Gen. John Buford and his division, which would cross at Beverly Ford, and the other under Brig. Gen. David Gregg, which would cross at Kelly’s Ford.   Added to Gregg’s force will be a brigade on infantry under Brig. Gen. Russell.  Another cavalry division under Alfred Duffie will protect the flank Federal left flank.

Gen. John Buford and his brigade commanders

---Sergeant George Michael Neese, of Chew’s Battery in Stuart’s horse artillery, writes of his humorous role at the Grand Review:

June 8 — General Stuart had another grand review to-day on the same field, and similar to the one he had on the fifth, except the artillery did no firing. The troops to-day were reviewed by the great master of war and the famous chieftain of the Confederate Army, General Robert E. Lee.

I was trying to act in the capacity of first sergeant of our battery in the review to-day, and was riding at the head of the horse artillery, mounted on a mule with ears about a foot long. Just before we arrived at the reviewing stand the searching eye of General Stuart spied the waving ears of my mule, and he quickly dispatched one of his aides to Captain Chew, with the urgent request to order the mule and me with it off of the field, which was quickly done with neatness and dispatch. I cared very little about the matter, but the mule looked a little bit surprised, and, I think, felt ashamed of himself and his waving ears, which cost him his prominent position in the grand cavalcade.

---Oliver Willcox Norton, of the 83rd Pennsylvania Infantry, while on the march in Virginia, writes in his journal of a poignant encounter with a poor woman:

Down on the bank of the river I went into a house and met a young married woman with a baby in her arms. She had been pretty once and it was not age that spoiled her beauty, but care. “Can you sell me a pie, or something good for my dinner?” said I. “A pie! sir.” said she. “Well, now, sir, if I was to tell you that I have not tasted or seen a piece of pie for more than a year, would you believe me?” “I certainly should if you said so. Of course I couldn’t doubt a lady’s word.” “Sir, ‘fore God it is the truth. I have only been married ’bout a year, and my husband, who was an overseer, came on to this place after the fruit was all gone, and I’ve had no fruit. I haven’t seen a bit of sugar, nor coffee, nor tea for nigh eight months, I reckon,” and she went on and gave me such a story of struggles to keep alive, to get enough to keep from starving, as made all the hard times I have ever seen seem like a life of luxury. I did pity her. On such as she, the poor whites of the South, the burden of this war is heaviest. She had but little sympathy for the South or North either. She cared but little how the war ended, so it ended soon. Poor woman, she understood but little of the nature of the contest. She sent a little darky girl to bring in a pan of milk. . . . She gave me some milk, and by the time I had eaten my dinner the colonel came back from the lines, and I mounted my horse and came back to camp.

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