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The Fight at Aldie (March 2, 1863)

The Fight at Aldie was a small American Civil War cavalry skirmish between Confederate forces under John Mosby and Union forces under Major Gilmer and Captain F.T. Huntoon in Aldie, Virginia on March 2, 1863 as part of Mosby's Operations in Northern Virginia. The fight resulted in a Confederate Victory.

Play this Fight at Aldie quiz.

True or False?

1. Mosby makes his first raid against the Union in Chantilly, Virginia.

2. Colonel Sir Percy Wyndham dispatched 200 troopers of the 18th Pennsylvania under Major Gilmer from Fairfax towards Middleburg.

3. Residents of the village, pleaded with Gilmer to spare the it, claiming to have no knowledge of the whereabouts of Mosby's men. Not believing them, he burned the town to the ground.

4. The 18th Pennsylvania informed the 1st Vermont of their failure to locate Mosby. They joined the 1st Vermont and returned to Aldie to water their mounts.

5. Mosby ordered a charge and the with a yell the Confederates bore down on the Federals, taking them by surprise and sending most of them into a wild retreat.

6. During the charge, Mosby lost control of his horse and was forced to jump off.

7. He planned a raid to capture the President Abraham Lincoln on a visit to Fairfax Court House.

8. Because of the raid, he lost the support of the residents around Audie, Virginia.


Answers

1. True. On January 24, 1863, General JEB Stuart dispatched his scout John Mosby and 15 of his cavaliers to the lower Loudoun Valley in Fauquier County to conduct operations against Union forces occupying Northern Virginia. On the 28th, the small band met at Mount Zion Church, a half mile east of Aldie and set on their first raid against Federals in Chantilly.

2. True. On March 2, in response to the raids, Colonel Sir Percy Wyndham dispatched 200 troopers of the 18th Pennsylvania under Major Gilmer from Fairfax towards Middleburg to find and capture the Mosby and his men.

3. False. In the town, the Union force, many of whom were reportedly drunk, began searching local residences and arresting citizens in an attempt to smoke out Mosby's men. When this proved to be unsuccessful, Gilmer threatened to burn the town. Residents of the village, pleaded with Gilmer to spare the it, claiming to have no knowledge of the whereabouts of Mosby's men. Gilmer apparently believed them and withdrew with his command east, toward Aldie.

4. False. At Aldie, the 18th Pennsylvania encountered a 50-man detachment of the 1st Vermont on similar patrol in Loudoun. The drunken Major Gilmer mistook the 1st Vermont for Confederates and ordered a retreat. The 1st Vermont, overtook the 18th Pennsylvania and the mistake was recognized. The 18th Pennsylvania informed the 1st Vermont of their failure to locate Mosby and then withdrew for Fairfax, while the 1st Vermont returned to Aldie to water their mounts.

5. True. The Federal raid on Middleburg did not go unnoticed by Mosby. As soon as the Federals left the town, he quickly assembled as many men as possible, totaling between 17 and 28, and then set out towards Aldie in pursuit. As Mosby's men entered the village from the west, they spied the dismounted 1st Vermont. Mosby immediately ordered a charge and the with a yell the Confederates bore down on the Federals, taking them by surprise and sending most of them into a wild retreat.

6. True. During the charge, Mosby lost control of his horse and was forced to jump off, losing it to the Federals. During the fight Captain Woodword of the 1st Vermont had his horse shot out from underneath him, pinning him to the ground. One of Mosby's men ran towards him to shot him, but Woodward was able to draw a concealed pistol and shoot his assailant. Believing that Woodward had already surrendered when he fired the shot a few of Mosby's men rushed in to execute him. Mosby, who witnessed the affair, quickly interceded, taking the captain prisoner. Despite losing his horse, Mosby and his men handled themselves well, capturing 19 Federals, including two captains and 23 horses, while suffering only one wounded.

7. False. In response to the raid into his territory, Mosby planned another raid on federals in Fairfax to capture the cavalry commander Sir Percy Wyndham on March 9.

8. False. In addition, for defending the town of Middleburg and severely embarrassing the Federals sent to raid it, Mosby and his men won the admiration of the town's citizens, who had to this point been weary of the partisans. The support of the people of the Loudoun Valley would become one of Mosby's greatest assets for the duration of the war.

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