April 3, 2012

More Scenes from East Cavalry Battlefield

East Cavalry Battlefield is within Gettysburg National Military Park although it is outside the town of Gettysburg. Here J.E.B. Stuart's Confederate Cavalry found itself unable to defeat Union Cavalry and had to retreat. An interpretive sign tells the story:

A Violent Collision of Cavalry — July 3, 1863 - Third Day —

"So sudden and violent was the collision that many of the horses were turned end over end, and crushed their riders beneath them."
Capt. William E. Miller, U.S.A.
4th Pennsylvania Cavalry
On the afternoon of July 3, Confederate Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart mounted several cavalry attacks against Brig. Gen. David M. Gregg's Union cavalry positioned along the Hanover Road 1/2 mile in front of you. A colonel of the 1st Virginia Cavalry reported the fighting was "hand to hand, blow for blow, cut for cut, and oath for oath...."

At 4:00 p.m., Stuart assembled 12 regiments of troopers for the last great charge of the day. A Union officer wrote of the massed Confederates: "In close column of squadrons, advancing as if in review, with sabers drawn and glistening like silver in the bright sunlight-the spectacle called forth a murmur of admiration."

The closest Union regiment available to halt the Southern horsemen was the 1st Michigan Cavalry. Brig. Gen. George A. Custer rode to the head of the regiment, stood up in the stirrups with his saber aloft and with a determined yell, led a countercharge. While Custer viciously attacked the head of the Confederate column, other Union cavalry under Col. John B. McIntosh closed in on the flanks. Assaulted on three sides, the Confederates retreated. The attack on the Union rear had failed.
Dr. Poland of NVCC Explains the Cavalry Battle
While Gettysburg Battlefield is a naturally beautiful place, it is littered with so many monuments and signs that the scenery is obscured. Here's a marker commemorating the Cavalry Corps, Third Division, Second Brigade under General Custer. (You can read the text on HMDB.)


2 comments:

  1. the scenes of the old battles skin I shiver, and fired my imagination.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, I know what you mean. I feel that shiver sometimes, standing on a battlefield in the beautiful and peaceful countryside, feeling a gentle breeze and hearing birds sing with the hum of traffic far away. Then I read a sign and realize that men were killed or wounded here, that they slaughtered each other... it's enough to make you shiver!

    ReplyDelete

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