Midpoint of the War: May to July 1863

The Army of Northern Virginia Moves North

What was the Battle of Brandy Station?

Fought on June 9, 1863, it was the largest cavalry clash ever seen in North America. Pleasonton and about 11,000 federal cavalry completely surprised J. E. B. Stuart and a roughly equal number of Confederates. When the federal attack began, the Confederates were in disarray: some had no more than three minutes in which to mount up and ride off.

In the short run, the attacks did not seem that important. Stuart was still ready to ride off as Lee’s cavalry commander. But the Battle of Brandy Station did some harm to Stuart while doing great things for the Union cavalry arm. Up to that time, the Northern cavalry had been something of the joke of the Army of the Potomac. No more. Not only did Pleasonton do a number on J. E. B. Stuart, but the Battle of Brandy Station also saw the rise of a new, very young commander: George Armstrong Custer.

Troop positions during the Battle of Brandy Station on June 9, 1863. This was the single largest cavalry engagement ever seen on the North American continent.


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