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d, and for the purposes of his reconnoissance General Pleasonton determined to pass his troops over both these fords. The consequences of this plan proved to be to some extent unfortunate, because, when the river was crossed on the morning of the 9th, and the troops became engaged, the operations of the widely-severed connections were independent of each other, and could not, at that distance, in a wooded and irregular country, be brought promptly into harmony. This state of affairs, purely xandria Railroad lying between them as they marched. As an aide-de-camp to General Pleasonton, it was my fortune to be thrown with the Beverly ford column, and all that I saw of what occurred after the crossing of the river, on the morning of the 9th, was connected with the operations on the right. It was not yet dawn when General Pleasonton rode to the river bank at Beverly ford. The atmosphere at that hour was very hazy, and the group of officers assembled near the General were half hid
ere manifold. It provided information which enabled General Hooker to move in good time to keep pace with Lee's army of invasion en route to Maryland and Pennsylvania; it chilled the ardor of Stuart's men, delaying his march, and, in fact, ruining his plans, which had soared high; it enabled General Pleasonton to anticipate him on the east flank of the Blue Ridge as he marched toward the Potomac, and to hold him in check by the well-fought battles of Aldie, Mliddleburg and Upperville, on the 17th, 19th and 21st of June, until Hooker's main army, followed by our cavalry, was north of the river, causing subsequent bewilderment and anxiety to General Lee throughout the campaign to the very eve of the battle of Gettysburg. In his official report General Lee declares that on the 27th of June, while his own army was at Chambersburg, no report had been received that the Federal army had crossed the Potomac, and the absence of the cavalry rendered it impossible to-obtain accurate information
was accumulating his cavalry at Culpepper Court-House, if he had not already set out in advance of Lee's infantry. Culpepper Court-House is some ten miles south of the river, and there was no expectation on General Pleasonton's part of encountering Stuart's troopers immediately on crossing the fords of the Rappahannock. Indeed, as Major McClellan states, Stuart's advance to the river was simultaneous with our own. As we silently encamped on the north bank on the pleasant evening of the 8th of June, and had to be content with cold suppers, because General Pleasonton would permit no camp-fires to be lighted, Stuart's men made their bold bivouac on the southern shore of the river so confidently that, as Major McClellan informs us, there was nothing but a picket between Beverly ford, and four batteries of horse artillery parked but a short distance in the rear. General Pleasonton, having no reason to expect the presence of the enemy in force this side of Culpepper Court-House, his pla
nifold. It provided information which enabled General Hooker to move in good time to keep pace with Lee's army of invasion en route to Maryland and Pennsylvania; it chilled the ardor of Stuart's men, delaying his march, and, in fact, ruining his plans, which had soared high; it enabled General Pleasonton to anticipate him on the east flank of the Blue Ridge as he marched toward the Potomac, and to hold him in check by the well-fought battles of Aldie, Mliddleburg and Upperville, on the 17th, 19th and 21st of June, until Hooker's main army, followed by our cavalry, was north of the river, causing subsequent bewilderment and anxiety to General Lee throughout the campaign to the very eve of the battle of Gettysburg. In his official report General Lee declares that on the 27th of June, while his own army was at Chambersburg, no report had been received that the Federal army had crossed the Potomac, and the absence of the cavalry rendered it impossible to-obtain accurate information, thou
rovided information which enabled General Hooker to move in good time to keep pace with Lee's army of invasion en route to Maryland and Pennsylvania; it chilled the ardor of Stuart's men, delaying his march, and, in fact, ruining his plans, which had soared high; it enabled General Pleasonton to anticipate him on the east flank of the Blue Ridge as he marched toward the Potomac, and to hold him in check by the well-fought battles of Aldie, Mliddleburg and Upperville, on the 17th, 19th and 21st of June, until Hooker's main army, followed by our cavalry, was north of the river, causing subsequent bewilderment and anxiety to General Lee throughout the campaign to the very eve of the battle of Gettysburg. In his official report General Lee declares that on the 27th of June, while his own army was at Chambersburg, no report had been received that the Federal army had crossed the Potomac, and the absence of the cavalry rendered it impossible to-obtain accurate information, though at this da
General Pleasonton to anticipate him on the east flank of the Blue Ridge as he marched toward the Potomac, and to hold him in check by the well-fought battles of Aldie, Mliddleburg and Upperville, on the 17th, 19th and 21st of June, until Hooker's main army, followed by our cavalry, was north of the river, causing subsequent bewilderment and anxiety to General Lee throughout the campaign to the very eve of the battle of Gettysburg. In his official report General Lee declares that on the 27th of June, while his own army was at Chambersburg, no report had been received that the Federal army had crossed the Potomac, and the absence of the cavalry rendered it impossible to-obtain accurate information, though at this date the Army of the Potomac was already at Frederick City, Maryland. Again he says: By the route Stuart pursued the Federal army was interposed between his command and our main body. The march toward Gettysburg was conducted more slowly than it would have been had the posi
an say of the expedition, as to its futility, barrenness and general worthlessness, of which we were conscious and heartily tired long before we saw the end of it. The battle of Beverly Ford, as we call it, or of Fleetwood, as General Stuart styled it, is interesting in the first place, because it was the first occasion when the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac went into action as a body. The cavalry had been organized by General Hooker into a corps under Stoneman during the winter of 1862-63, and Stoneman had commanded the greater part of it as a unit in the field during his celebrated but entirely fruitless raid in the Chancellorsville campaign; but there had been no fighting-simply long marches in rain and mud, and much loss of sleep. General Stoneman, naturally of an anxious habit of mind, was unfitted by temperament, as well as by bodily suffering, for independent operations remote from the main army. After the return from the raid he was unjustly held to blame for a sha
ay of the expedition, as to its futility, barrenness and general worthlessness, of which we were conscious and heartily tired long before we saw the end of it. The battle of Beverly Ford, as we call it, or of Fleetwood, as General Stuart styled it, is interesting in the first place, because it was the first occasion when the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac went into action as a body. The cavalry had been organized by General Hooker into a corps under Stoneman during the winter of 1862-63, and Stoneman had commanded the greater part of it as a unit in the field during his celebrated but entirely fruitless raid in the Chancellorsville campaign; but there had been no fighting-simply long marches in rain and mud, and much loss of sleep. General Stoneman, naturally of an anxious habit of mind, was unfitted by temperament, as well as by bodily suffering, for independent operations remote from the main army. After the return from the raid he was unjustly held to blame for a share i
June 9th, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 10
s latter account, as a pendant to the former, affords an opportunity to emphasize the fact that the Gettysburg campaign was opened actively in Virginia, when General Pleasonton's command crossed the Rappahannock river, on the morning of the 9th of June, 1863, at Kelly's and Beverly fords, and engaged th e command of General J E. B. Stuart. The influence of that day's encounter on the great campaign which it inaugurated, has McClellan has done well to draw renewed attention to this eventful actimpaign created a revolution in the ideas of European officers, who recognized a new feature in war. But it is not to the point that our fame is less in the former than in the latter campaign, and it should not be lost sight of that, on the 9th of June, 1863, the cavalry of Lee's army was in its prime; it was never seen afterward in equal glory. Pleasonton's movement across the Rappahannock that day was in fact a reconnoissance in force to ascertain for General Hooker's information to what e
June, 1864 AD (search for this): chapter 10
atient courage and self-sacrificing spirit which marked the conduct of the Southern troops, meriting, in a military sense, the admiration of the world. Before passing to the field to which Major McClellan has mainly confined himself, I may, for historical purposes, be allowed to say, in reply to one of his preliminary remarks, that, however it may have been on his side, the entire strength of the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac was not concentrated at Trevilian Station, Virginia, in June, 1864. We had but two divisions there (Torbert's and Gregg's), Wilson's having remained with the Army of the Potomac near James river. Fair-minded troopers on our side call the fierce engagement between Sheridan and Wade Hampton at Trevilian a drawn battle. It was fought in a densely-wooded country, very remote from our main army and from any base of supply. The object of our expedition was to effect a junction with Hunter near Gordonsville; but Hunter was not at Gordonsville, nor near there
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