previous next
[240] his plan of attack was to engage the Federal troops in his front with sharpshooters, while he moved the Confederate brigades of Jenkins and W. F. H. Lee secretly through the woods in an effort to reach the Union rear. Stuart hoped to strike at the psychological moment when Pickett's famous infantry charge, on the center of the Union line of battle, would engage the entire attention of the Army of the Potomac.

The cavalry combat which followed was probably as desperate and as stubbornly contested as any in which the cavalry took part during the entire period of the war. A mounted charge by a regiment of W. F. H. Lee's brigade, was met by a countercharge of the Seventh Michigan Cavalry, the two regiments meeting face to face on opposite sides of a stone wall, and discharging their carbines point blank. The First Michigan Cavalry, aided by Chester's battery made a charge which, followed by a hand-to-hand fight, drove the Confederate lines back in confusion. Then followed charges and counter-charges by each opponent, until a large part of both commands was involved in a general melee.

In this terrible cavalry combat every possible weapon was utilized, and after it was over, men were found interlocked in each other's arms, with fingers so firmly imbedded in the flesh as to require force to remove them. The casualties were heavy for both Stuart and Gregg, but the latter was able to stop the Confederate cavalry leader's critical turning movement. Had Stuart with his veteran cavalry been able to strike the rear of the Federal army simultaneously with Pickett's infantry charge in front, the result of this decisive battle of the war might have been different.

On April 4, 1864, General Sheridan assumed command of the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac, and thereafter a new order of things was inaugurated for the Union cavalry in the Eastern theater of operations.

Sheridan insisted that his cavalry should not be separated into fragments, but should be concentrated “to fight the ”

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.
Chester, Pa. (Pennsylvania, 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 (3)
Philip Henry Sheridan (2)
Pickett (2)
W. F. H. Lee (2)
Jenkins (1)
David McM. Gregg (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.
April 4th, 1864 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: