Army of Northern Virginia: February to September 1862

Appearance of Robert E. Lee

How did that action go?

On June 13, 1862, Stuart brought 1,200 Confederate troopers around McClellan’s far-flung right flank. There were a few short gun fights, but on each occasion, the outnumbered Federals pulled back. By evening, Stuart was actually at the back, or southeast, side of McClellan, and he had yet to lose a single man. For his part, McClellan was not concerned. He believed that cavalry were an outdated military arm and that his artillery would soon tear holes in whatever Confederate defenses remained.

Stuart resumed his ride the next morning, and by that evening, he was completely around the southwest part of the federal lines. Leaving his men to rest, Stuart rode ahead to deliver the news to Robert E. Lee in person. Stuart lost precisely one man on his daring ride and he brought back much-needed intelligence, but the effect of the ride was primarily morale. Confederate spirits lifted when they learned that their cavalry could swing all the way around with the Yankees, too slow to do anything in reply.


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