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Stuart Arrives On The Battlefield

“We Have No Time” – Stuart Arrives On The Battlefield (Cavalry Tactical)

Famous war Generals are remembered in history for various things. Some are recalled due to their tactical decision making, glorious battles won or lost, statements made, or their personalities. JEB Stuart, a famous cavalry General serving in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War, is remembered by many for his flamboyant personality and aggressive battlefield tactics. JEB was a proud man, and he loved his hat.

Once the lead division of the Army of Virginia reached Pennsylvania, General Stuart’s cavalry had been ordered to  hook up with General Ewell and report the position of the Union Army.  On June 28, Stuart crossed the Potomac and captured a Union supply train of 140 wagons and then made his way toward Baltimore, and then Carlisle where he burned the Carlisle Barracks.  Late in the afternoon of July 2nd, Stuart finally reached the Gettysburg Headquarters of General Lee largely being unaware the battle had begun the day before without him.

Lee had been left blind to the strength and movement of the Federal Army and expressed his displeasure with Stuart.  After the battle Stuart received significant criticism from the southern press, but historians have failed to agree whether Stuart did not follow orders or that Lee had issued orders that were far too vague.

When Stuart arrived in Gettysburg on the afternoon of July 2, he left Wade Hampton to cover the left rear of the Confederate battle line causing Hampton to engage General George Armstrong Custer at Hunterstown. Stuart was then ordered to get to the enemy’s rear and disrupt its line of communications during Pickett’s Charge. The action was repulsed by Gregg and Custer at East Cavalry Field about three miles east of Gettysburg.  During the Confederate retreat from Gettysburg, Stuart was successful in screening the rear of the army against aggressive Union cavalry and escorted thousands of wagons, wounded men and supplies over difficult rain soaked roads across the Potomac River to the safety of Virginia.

Although normally battle action is determined beforehand in detail, tacticals provide reenactors the opportunity to perform living history field demonstrations with less scripted restrictions. Commanders will be able to act and react to actions unfolding in front of them on the field. Although “tacticals” are not normally open to the public, providing more leeway to the cavalry during this loosely scripted engagement should create a sense of excitement and anticipation for both the spectators and the troops. The scenario will conclude with a Cavalry Grand review. If you have never witnessed a “tactical” – experience “We Have No Time – Stuart Arrives on the Battlefield” at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 6th  at the 150th Gettysburg Anniversary National Civil War Battle Reenactment.

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