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Browsing named entities in The Annals of the Civil War Written by Leading Participants North and South (ed. Alexander Kelly McClure).

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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
George H. Thomas (search for this): chapter 10
e half hidden from each other by the mist. General Buford was there, with his usual smile. He rode a gray horse, at a slow walk generally, and smoked a pipe, no matter what was going on around him, and it was always reassuring to see him in the saddle when there was any chance of a fight. General Pleasonton's staff was partly composed of men who became distinguished. The Adjutant General was A. J. Alexander, of Kentucky, a very handsome fellow, who was afterward a brigadier general with Thomas in the West. Among the aides was Captain Farnsworth, Eighth Illinois Cavalry, who so distinguished himself in the coming battle, and in the subsequent operations south of the Potomac, that he was made a brigadier general, and with that rank fell at Gettysburg at the head of a brigade of cavalry which he had commanded but a few days. Another aide was the brilliant Custer, then a lieutenant, whose career and lamented death there is no need to recall. Another was Lieutenant R. S. McKenzie, o
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
ent 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 tStoneman 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 StonemGeneral 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 unjiments in their isolated service were at once apparent when the corps was called together. General Stoneman, and then General Pleasonton, on assuming command of the whole, found an efficient body of mass of crude material to be moulded into form before it should be fit for the field. Neither Stoneman, Pleasonton, nor Sheridan, is entitled to a very large share of credit for the excellent materi
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
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
ial honor, for he was a Southern man, and a graduate of West Point. He was called Grimes Davis by all his army friends, and was the beau ideal of a cavalry officer. His most famous exploit was his escape with his command from Harper's Ferry, when Miles, led on by treason or infatuation, abandoned all the grand surrounding hills to the enemy, without a struggle, and awaited his own inevitable surrender in the basin below, although it was written before him, in characters mountain-high, that Harper's Ferry cannot be defended except on Bolivar, London and Maryland Heights. Colonel Davis' troops had now no sooner emerged from the river at Beverly ford, where the water was scarcely stirrup-deep, than they encountered the enemy's. pickets, to whom they were, doubtless, an astounding apparition from the fog. Piff! paff! went the carbines, and our troops on this side pressed on faster, the narrowness of the ford road and of the ford itself compelling them to move in column of fours. Ma
ations from a common centre outward are better advised than by the contrary method. Concentration of troops is often so difficult of attainment when the links of connection are once lost. A conspicuous example of this truth has been lately brought to mind by Dr. Lambdin's admirable narrative read at the Centennial celebration of the battle of Germantown, and even now one can but feel sorry for General Washington as a soldier-thinking of him in the fog before Chew's house, with Sullivan and Wayne groping in front, and no tidings as yet of Greene on the Limekiln road, and Armstrong at the mouth of the Wissahickon. If he had spread his battle-fan outward from his centre on the turnpike, unfolding it as he advanced, perhaps no one would have inquired a century after why the good people of Germantown wished to commemorate a defeat. Be that as it may, General Pleasonton was destined to reap some of the occasional disadvantages of a broken military chain. The force dispatched to Kelly's
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