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[238]

Some of Pleasonton's men at Gettysburg: company D third Pennsylvania cavalry. These men and mere boys stood seriously before the camera. Without a trace of swagger they leaned upon their flashing sabers; yet they had seen all the important cavalry fighting in the East before their final supreme test at Gettysburg. They had fought at Fair Oaks and the Seven Days around Richmond. They had played their part at Kelly's Ford and in the great cavalry battle at Brandy Station. They came to Gettysburg seasoned troopers, with poise and confidence in themselves. On the first day Gregg's Second Cavalry Division, of which they formed part, fought the Second Virginia on foot with carbines. On the second day they were deployed as dismounted skirmishers to meet Stuart's men. The Confederate cavalry leader hoped to charge at the opportune moment when Pickett was advancing, but Pleasonton's men frustrated this attempt. The desperate charges and counter-charges on the Union right on that third decisive day were the fiercest of the entire war. This photograph was taken seven months later at Brandy Station, a few weeks before the Third Pennsylvania went into the Wilderness. Their time intervening since the battle of Gettysburg has been spent scouting and picketing along the Rappahannock, including many a skirmish with their active adversaries. They have had time to spruce up a bit during one of their short rests, but their quiet veteran bearing reflects the scenes they have passed through. Their swords that gleam so brilliantly are the regulation light curved cavalry sabers. With these and all other needed articles of equipment they and most of the Federal cavalry are now thoroughly equipped.

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