June 26, 2011

A Morning on Brandy Station Battlefield

This spring's Civil War tours with Dr. Poland dealt with Jeb Stuart and cavalry battles leading up to Gettysburg. On the first day we looked at the Battle of Brandy Station.

In Spring of 1863, Stuart and the Confederate Cavalry held reviews here, grand pageants featuring thousands of horses and  riders. Civilians came out to enjoy the spectacle.

Federal forces learned that Stuart was in the vicinity of Culpeper. Union General Pleasanton sent Union Cavalry to destroy Stuart and his army.

They did not succeed, but they proved that the Union Cavalry was capable and well-trained. Both sides claimed victory.

This marker at Stuart's artillery location summarizes the battle and introduces a driving tour.
On June 9, 1863, the Civil War visited the river fords, farmer's fields and rolling hills near Brandy Station. During the intense daylong fighting that swirled all around the little town, Confederate and Union horsemen clashed in the largest cavalry battle of the war. By nightfall, the Union cavalrymen had finally proved that they could match the legendary skills of the Southern horsemen. The Battle of Brandy Station failed to stop Robert E. Lee's invasion of the North that summer, though it did delay the onset of his march towards the climactic Battle of Gettysburg in early July.

(Left) Arch reads a marker on Buford's Knoll. This sign introduces the Buford's Knoll Walking Trail, "a two-mile path that takes you past four wayside signs interpreting the 1863 fighting on Beverly Ford Road and at Buford's Knoll."

The sign goes on to advise that the hike takes about two hours and "Beware of ticks and snakes that thrive in the fields surrounding the trail."

See previous tour of Brandy Station on my CW field trips site.


  1. What beautiful countryside. IT was a pleasure to look at the photos and read all about its history :) xx

  2. Thanks, Pat. It's one of those places where preserving history has also saved a lovely rural landscape.


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