previous next
[468] J. E. B. Stuart), who, if indeed he were present, might be presumed to have been in a position to judge correctly, that the cavalry operations on the right flank of the Union army at Gettysburg resulted victoriously for his cause. That this was not the case, will be shown conclusively.

But little has been written of the operations of the cavalry during the battle of Gettysburg. So fierce was the main engagement, of which the infantry bore the brunt, that the “affairs” of the cavalry have almost passed unnoticed, yet on the right flank there occurred one of the most beautiful cavalry fights of the war, and one most important in its results. It may be confidently asserted that, had it not been for General D. McM. Gregg and the three brigades under his command on the Bonaughtown road, on July 3d, 1863, that day would have resulted differently, and, instead of a glorious victory, the name of “Gettysburg” would suggest a state of affairs which it is not agreeable to contemplate. The neglect with which this portion of the battle has been treated is due, in a great degree, to the want of that self-assertion which was not uncommon among the officers of our Cavalry Corps. The skilful leader, gallant officer, and accomplished gentleman who was in command on the right flank, has allowed his modesty and retiring disposition to stand in the way of his claiming for himself and his division the laurels to which they are entitled. The Second Cavalry Division, moreover, was not a favorite among the newspaper correspondents. None of them were attached nominally to its staff, nor allowed in its camps, or among its men — for its commander saw the mischief which they worked. He was appreciated the more for his rule, but there are instances of others thereby gathering, in the ephemeral records of the times, the glory which he had rightly earned, well knowing that no public denial would come from him. It is but tardy justice which is now being done to him and his command, and the importance of the operations on the right flank was never brought before the public until the recent appearance of Major Carpenter's able article, containing extracts from the official report of the Confederate General Stuart, which is of infinite importance to the true history of the battle, but which the War Department, for some reason, has hitherto refused to the public.1

1 There has existed a wide-spread supposition that Stuart and his cavalry were not even present at the battle of Gettysburg. This is partly owing to the fact that, after the battles of Aldie and Upperville, Stuart became separated from Lee's army, and was prevented from joining it, or from being of any assistance to its commander during its movements preceding the battle, by the interposition of Gregg's and Kilpatrick's Cavalry. Stuart was thereby compelled to make a wide detour, only reaching Lee on the 2d of July; and, owing to this separation, and the loss of the “eyes and ears” of his army, Lee had, to a great extent, to move in the dark. To the fact of Stuart's absence from Lee's army, many recent Confederate writers have attributed the results of the campaign, while others maintain that the two brigades, under Generals Robertson, and Jones, which did not accompany Stuart upon his independent movement, were amply sufficient for the purposes of observation.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Gettysburg (Pennsylvania, United States) (2)
Upperville (Virginia, United States) (1)
Aldie (Virginia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
J. E. B. Stuart (7)
R. E. Lee (4)
D. McM. Gregg (2)
B. H. Robertson (1)
Kilpatrick (1)
William E. Jones (1)
Daniel Carpenter (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
July 3rd, 1863 AD (1)
July 2nd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: