Monday, November 18, 2013

October 12, 1863

October 12, 1863

---Bristoe Station Campaign:  Confusing reports begin to convince Meade that Lee is hovering in the Culpeper area, and that perhaps the Federals ought to re-cross to the southwest bank of the Rappahannock and attack Lee where he is.  But Lee has accelerated his march northward, and has only the Rappahannock River and Gen. Gregg’s cavalry between his column and Warrenton.  Meade sends the II, V, and VI Corps, along with John Buford’s cavalry division, move south across the river at Brandy Station to spar with Lee’s supposed presence there---but after deploying into a three-mile long line and advancing, this force only encounters the small force guarding the fords, and Buford chases them nearly to Culpeper Court House.  It is clear Lee is not there.  Meanwhile, many miles to the north, Stuart’s gray riders encounter Gregg’s blue cavalry at Sulphur Springs crossing, where Gregg’s guns keep the Rebel troopers at bay for awhile.  But when more Rebel artillery from Ewell shows up, Stuart is able to clear the Yankees away from the crossing, and the way to Warrenton is wide open.  However, information from Gregg is not forthcoming, and Meade does not know that Lee has again flanked him.  Meade gets Gregg’s report long after nightfall, and therefore puts his entire army into motion, and that by forced night marching is barely able to keep Lee from cutting him off.

Bristoe Campaign

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