June 29, 2011

Fleetwood Hill

Brandy Station Battlefield

Our final lecture of the day was at Fleetwood Hill. I'll let the sign tell the story.
Here the old Carolina Road crosses the southern part of Fleetwood Hill, some of the highest ground in the area. On the slope ahead of you Maj. Gen. James Ewell Brown (J.E.B.) Stuart, commander of Robert E. Lee's cavalry, pitched his headquarters tents on the evening of June 8, 1863. Nearby stood the Henry Miller House, known as Fleetwood. The Confederates used the name "the Battle of Fleetwood Hill" for the conflict now known as the Battle of Brandy Station.

Stuart was surprised when word came of a Federal attack on his outposts at Beverly Ford at first light on June 9. He sent his headquarters wagons off to Culpeper Court House and responded swiftly to Brig. Gen. John Buford's Union challenge. The strong line Stuart established near St. James Church began pushing back the Federals by late morning.

But a second surprise - and near disaster - arrived about 11 a.m. Another Union division, 2,200 men under Brig. Gen. David M. Gregg, had crossed the river at Kelly's Ford with minimal opposition and appeared in Stuart's rear. A quick-thinking Confederate staff officer opened fire with a solitary cannon from the crest of Fleetwood Hill on the Federal troopers exiting the village of Brandy Station. Meanwhile, couriers dashed off to Stuart, then a mile away near St. James Church. Stuart acted decisively. Pulling his regiments from the St. James Church area, he sent them galloping for Fleetwood Hill.

It was a race for the high ground, but Stuart's men reached the grassy crest before Gregg's. Pouring down on the other side, the Confederates hit Col. Percy Wyndham's Union cavalry brigade hard, blunting the first Federal attack.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The View from Squirrel Ridge features thousands of views of the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding area. I post frequently so please visit often.

Your comments are appreciated. If you are responding to a post older than a few days, your comment will be held until we have a chance to approve it. Thanks for your patience!

Sorry, anonymous comments cannot be accepted because of the large number of spam comments that come in that way. Also, links that are ads will be deleted.