Battle of Brandy Station
The Battle of Brandy Station was the largest predominantly cavalry
engagement of the US Civil War, as well as the largest to take place ever
on American soil. It was fought at the beginning of the Gettysburg
Campaign by the Union cavalry under Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton against
Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart's Confederate cavalry on June 9, 1863.
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The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia streamed into Culpeper County,
Virginia, after its victory at Chancellorsville in May 1863. Under the
leadership of Gen. Robert E. Lee, the troops massed around Culpeper
preparing to carry the war north into Pennsylvania. The constant enemies
of hunger and poor equipment were showing their effects. Lee was
determined to strike north to capture horses, equipment, and food for his
men. His army could also threaten Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington,
and encourage the growing peace movement in the North.
2) Six miles northeast of Culpeper, Stuart bivouacked his cavalry
troopers, screening the Confederate Army against surprise by the enemy.
What was the river?
3) Most of the Southern cavalry was camped near Brandy Station. Stuart,
befitting his reputation as a "dashing cavalier" or beau
sabreur, requested a full field review of his troops by Gen. Lee. This
grand review on June 5 included nearly 9,000 mounted troopers and 4
batteries of horse artillery, charging in simulated battle at Inlet
Station, about two miles southwest of Brandy Station. Lee was unable to
When did Stuart have another review for
4) Around Brandy Station, Stuart's force of about men consisted of five
cavalry brigades, commanded by Brig. Gens. Wade Hampton, W.H.F.
"Rooney" Lee, Beverly H. Robertson, and William E.
"Grumble" Jones, and Col. Thomas T. Munford (commanding Brig.
Gen. Fitzhugh Lee's brigade while Lee was stricken with a bout of
rheumatism), plus the six-battery Stuart Horse Artillery, commanded by
Major Robert F. Beckham. What was the size of Stuart's
5) Unknown to the Confederates, a Union force had massed on the other
side of the river. Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton, commanding the Cavalry
Corps of the Army of the Potomac, had organized his combined-armed forces
into two "wings," under Brig. Gens. John Buford and David
McMurtrie Gregg, augmented by infantry brigades from the V Corps. Buford's
wing, accompanied by Pleasonton, consisted of his own 1st Cavalry
Division, a Reserve Brigade led by Major Charles J. Whiting, and an
infantry brigade of 3,000 men under Brig. Gen. Adelbert Ames. Gregg's wing
was the 2nd Cavalry Division, led by Col. Alfred N. Duffi�, the 3rd
Cavalry Division, led by Gregg, and an infantry brigade under Brig. Gen.
David A. Russell.
What was the size of the Union
6) The commander of the Army of the Potomac, Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker,
interpreted the enemy's cavalry presence around Culpeper to be indicative
of preparations for a raid of his army's supply lines. In reaction to
this, he ordered Pleasonton's force on a "spoiling raid," to
"disperse and destroy" the Confederates. At the battle, who
commanded the Army of the Potomac?
Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant
Maj. Gen. George Meade
Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker
7) About 4:30 a.m. on June 9, Buford's column crossed the river in a
dense fog, pushing aside the Confederate pickets at Beverly's Ford.
Who's unit took the initial attack partially dressed
and often riding bareback?
W.H.F. "Rooney" Lee
Beverly H. Robertson
William E. "Grumble" Jones
8) A Union cavalry regiment unsuccessfully charged the guns at St.
James Church, suffering the greatest casualties of any regiment in the
battle. Several Confederates later described their charge as the most
"brilliant and glorious" cavalry charge of the war.
What was the regiment?
6th Pennsylvania Cavalry
16th Ohio Cavalry
26th New York Cavalry
9) In many Civil War battles, cavalrymen typically dismounted once they
reached an engagement and fought essentially as infantry. But in this
battle, the surprise and chaos led to a mostly mounted fight.
10) The Confederates began pulling back. They were reacting to the
arrival of Gregg's Union cavalry division of about 2,800 men, which was
the second major surprise of the day. Gregg found a more circuitous route
that was completely unguarded and, following these roads, his lead brigade
arrived in Brandy Station about 11 a.m.
the lead brigade?
Col. Percy Wyndham
Col. Arlene Specter
Col. Joseph Morgan
11) What was the prominent ridge,
which had been Stuart's headquarters the previous night?
12) Reinforced by Fitzhugh Lee's brigade, Rooney Lee launched a
counterattack against Buford at the same time as Pleasonton had called for
a general withdrawal near sunset.
How long did the
13) Union casualties were 907 (69 killed, 352 wounded, and 486 missing,
primarily captured); Confederate losses totaled 523. Among the casualties
was Robert E. Lee's son, Rooney, who was seriously wounded in the thigh.
He was sent to Hickory Hill, an estate near Hanover Court House, where he
was captured on June 26.
14) What was the Southern newspaper
that described Stuart's command as "puffed up cavalry," that suffered the
"consequences of negligence and bad management."
15) For the first time in the Civil War, Union cavalry matched the
Confederate horsemen in skill and determination. Stuart's humiliation as
the victim of two surprise attacks, the very thing cavalry is supposed to
ensure does not happen, foreshadowed other embarrassments ahead for him in
the Gettysburg campaign.