This weekend marks anniversaries of two very significant cavalry battles that took place during the Civil War. Saturday will be 149th anniversary of the Battle of Brandy Station in Virginia. It was the largest cavalry battle to ever take place on American soil, and yet, it is obscure in that most people have never heard of it. The battle was a confrontation between Confederate cavalry commanded by General J.E.B. Stuart, and Union cavalry under General David Gregg. It was considered a Confederate victory, even though it was more like a draw, and the Rebels were taken by surprise, which nearly cost them the battle. For more information, please read my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire.
On the battlefield is a fascinating piece of history that was nearly lost. The Graffiti House stands near the Orange & Alexandria Railroad. After years of neglect, the building was almost demolished, but in 1993, a discovery was made. Under layers of paint, signatures of both Union and Confederate soldiers, along with drawings they made, were written in charcoal on the walls, one of which was by General Stuart himself. Since that time, the structure has become part of the Brandy Station Foundation, and is in the process of being restored.
Another significant event, which took place on June 10, 1864, was the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads in Lee County, Mississippi. Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s 4,787 cavalrymen confronted the 8,100 troopers of Union General Samuel D. Sturgis. Despite the odds, Forrest came out victorious. It is a remarkable example of how his genius prevailed by the use of better military tactics, mastery of the terrain, and aggressive use of offensive action.