enemy's cavalry,” and in deference to Sheridan
's wishes, General Meade
promptly relieved the cavalry from much of the arduous picket duty which it was performing at the time.
But he gave little encouragement as yet to Sheridan
's plans for an independent
cavalry corps--a corps in fact as well as in name.
By the end of July, the Cavalry Corps had succeeded in almost annihilating the Confederate cavalry and had accomplished the destruction of millions of dollars' worth of property useful to the Confederate Government.
In all the important movements of the Army of the Potomac, the cavalry had acted as a screen, and by its hostile demonstrations against the Southern
flanks and rear, had more than once forced General Lee
to detach much-needed troops from his hard-pressed front.
On May 11th, at Yellow Tavern
had fought an engagement which gave him complete control of the road to Richmond
and resulted in the loss to the Confederates
of Generals Stuart
and James B. Gordon
's brigade first entered Yellow Tavern
and secured possession of the turnpike.
The other Union divisions being brought up, Custer
with his own brigade, supported by Chapman
's brigade of Wilson
's division, made a mounted charge which was brilliantly executed, followed by a dash at the Southern
line which received the charge in a stationary position.
This charge resulted in the capture of two guns.
Then, while Gibbs
forced the Confederate
right and center, Gregg
charged in the rear and the battle was won.
At Deep Bottom
, too, July 28th, occurred a brilliant fight which is worthy of more than passing notice.
The Second United States Cavalry led the advance on the 27th and took the New Market
road in the direction of Richmond
When close to the Confederate
pickets a dashing charge was made, forcing the foe back rapidly.
On the afternoon of the following day the Union
cavalry pickets were furiously attacked, and before the leading troops could dismount and conduct the led horses to the rear, an entire brigade of