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Civil War Trust

"A Splendid Little Affair"

The Battle of Dranesville

BY RON BAUMGARTEN

Action at Dranesville Sign
Virginia historical marker for the Battle of Dranesville along Highway 7 (Rob Shenk)

Although bigger, bloodier, and more decisive engagements would come later, the Battle of Dranesville captured the North’s attention at a time when the stinging defeats at Bull Run and Ball’s Bluff still haunted the public’s memory.   The engagement took place on December 20, 1861 during a time of relative quiet in Northern Virginia, with the exception of an occasional skirmish between detachments of infantry or cavalry.   Dranesville pitted a few thousand Pennsylvanian soldiers against a smaller body of Confederate troops under Brig. Gen. J.E.B. (“Jeb”) Stuart.  Lasting about two hours, the fight was marked by an uneven artillery exchange and sometimes clumsy infantry advances.  Stuart saved his foraging party from capture, but the Union scored what could be called a tactical win, and the Northern public celebrated a much-needed victory as the country headed into the first Christmas of the war.

The story of Dranesville starts in Langley, Virginia, present-day location of the CIA.  During the fall of 1861, Brig. Gen. George A. McCall’s division anchored the right wing of the Army of the Potomac in Virginia.  Federal commander George B. McClellan had sent McCall to occupy Langley in early October.  The village was located along the Leesburg-Georgetown Turnpike only a few miles from the strategic crossing of the Potomac River at Chain Bridge.  The division established Camp Pierpont on the land surrounding Langley, and McCall set up his headquarters at a local ordinary.

Brig. Gen. George A. McCall
Brig. Gen. George A. McCall (Library of Congress)

Known as the Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps, McCall’s division was composed entirely of recruits from the Keystone State.  The division got off the ground early in the war thanks to the initiative of Pennsylvania’s governor, Andrew Curtin, who pushed the legislature to authorize the reserve unit after the U.S. War Department turned away volunteers in excess of the state’s quota.  McCall, an 1822 graduate of West Point, was placed in command of the new division.  Following the Union defeat at First Bull Run, the U.S. Government urgently called up the Pennsylvania Reserves, and McCall headed to Washington with his men.  The division ultimately consisted of thirteen regiments of infantry, one regiment of cavalry, and four batteries of artillery.   Brig. Gens. John F. Reynolds and George G. Meade commanded two of the division’s three brigades.  Brig. Gen. Edward Otho Cresap (“E.O.C.”) Ord, an 1839 graduate of West Point, arrived at Langley in November to take charge of the Third Brigade.

As December got underway, the Confederates were concentrated at Centreville, Virginia, around twenty miles from the Union lines at Langley.  The two armies stared at each other across a vast stretch of farmland, woods, and small towns.  Although this “disputed territory” was predominantly secessionist in sentiment, it was also home to a few Union sympathizers who occasionally faced harassment at the hands of pro-Confederate locals.[i]  Dranesville sat in this no-man’s land at a spot along the Leesburg-Alexandria Turnpike, a short distance northwest of the intersection with the Leesburg-Georgetown Turnpike.   Once a thriving turnpike stop in the days before the coming of the railroad, Dranesville by 1861 had become “a dull, desolate, and gloomy” place.[ii]

 The Dranesville Battlefield Today
Modern satellite overview of the Dranesville Battlefield.  The Georgetown Pike/Leesburg Pike intersection, which figured prominently in the battle, is one of the busiest and most traffic-choked areas of Northern Virginia.  Most of this battlefield has been lost to development in the Great Falls and Reston, Virginia area.  A new housing development can be seen in the right-hand portion of this image.  (Google Earth)

McCall’s men were no strangers to Dranesville.  In fact, McClellan had sent McCall on a reconnaissance mission of the area immediately preceding the Battle of Ball’s Bluff in October.  The Pennsylvania Reserves also needed corn and hay, and McCall had no qualms about sending his men on expeditions to raid the farms of secessionists near Dranesville.  On December 3, Reynolds led one such expedition, with Meade following.  The men took fifty wagonloads of forage, but “saw and heard nothing of the enemy.”[iii]  Meade’s brigade was ordered back to the area near Dranesville on December 6, and Ord’s brigade was sent in support.  The object of the expedition was the farm of secessionist John Gunnell, located northeast of Dranesville.  The brigade took sixty wagonloads of forage from Gunnell’s farm and arrested two of Gunnell’s nephews and three other “rank secessionists.”[iv]  

A couple of weeks later, on December 19, McCall learned that “the enemy’s pickets had advanced to within 4 or 5 miles of our lines and carried off two good Union men” and that “their reserve was in the neighborhood of Dranesville.”[v]  The general reacted immediately to the alarming news.  He dashed off an order instructing Ord to take his brigade towards Dranesville at six the next morning.   McCall also directed the 1st Pennsylvania Rifles, Battery A of the 1st Pennsylvania Reserve Artillery, and two squadrons of the First Pennsylvania Reserve Cavalry to support Ord’s brigade.

According to McCall’s order, the expedition to Dranesville had the “twofold object” of “driv[ing] back the enemy’s pickets” and “procur[ing] a supply of forage.”[vi]  McCall told Ord that he had learned that a force of around 100 Confederate cavalry was roaming between the Potomac River and Dranesville.  Ord was to attack this detachment, but if unable to execute the order in time to return to Camp Pierpont by dark, he was directed to abandon the plan to avoid an overnight stay outside Union lines.   McCall ordered his brigade commander to procure corn and hay from Gunnell’s or “some other rank secessionist’s in the neighborhood....”[vii]

Edward Otho Cresap Ord
Major General Edward O. C. Ord (Library of Congress)

Early on December 20, Ord’s brigade, consisting of the 6th, 9th, 10th, and 12th Pennsylvania Reserves, assembled outside of Langley.  The 1st Pennsylvania Rifles under Lt. Col. Thomas Kane met Ord’s men at the designated rendez-vous spot along the route to Dranesville.  The ranks of Kane’s regiment were filled with woodsmen and farmers from rural northwestern Pennsylvania who knew a thing or two about guns.  The soldiers proudly carried the nickname of the “Bucktails” because of the deer tails that they wore on their caps to symbolize their marksmanship. 

Kane himself had been convalescing from an illness in Washington when he learned of the expedition.  Afraid of missing the chance to lead his men in battle, the young officer somehow convinced his staff to take him to the front.  Kane was wrapped in blankets and transported by ambulance to Camp Pierpont.  The next day, he mounted his horse and prepared to lead his regiment to Dranesville.

The morning was cold and clear as the expedition set out along the Leesburg-Georgetown Turnpike at around six. A thin layer of frost covered the ground. The cavalry scouted at the head of the column, and Kane’s men led the infantry.  Capt. Hezekiah Easton’s battery of two 12-pounders and two 24-pounder howitzers took its place somewhere near the front of the line.  All told, the force consisted of around 4,000 men.[viii]  McCall also dispatched the First Brigade under Reynolds to follow behind Ord until Reynolds reached Difficult Creek, where he was to wait and “support Ord in the event of his meeting a force stronger than his own.”[ix] 

The march proceeded calmly, but as the expedition reached Difficult Creek, the scouts sounded an alarm.  The enemy was nowhere to be found, however, and following a brief lunch, the expedition continued to a spot near Gunnell’s farm.  Here Ord learned that the Confederates were not where McCall had thought they were and that a large number of the enemy’s cavalry was posted at Dranesville.  After dispatching a detachment of infantry and cavalry with the wagons, he proceeded towards Dranesville with the remainder of his men.  Ord believed that McCall would not object to this slight change of plans if he managed to “find the enemy and pick up a few.”[x]  Ord’s men reached Dranesville around eleven that morning, but they were not alone.

Jeb Stuart
JEB Stuart (Library of Congress)

The Confederates had planned their own foraging expedition for the same day.  Brig. Gen. Jeb Stuart was selected to guard the wagons.  Stuart’s force consisted of 1,600 infantry from the 1st Kentucky, 6th South Carolina, 10th Alabama, and 11th Virginia, along with four pieces of the Sumter Flying Artillery of Georgia and 150 cavalry from the1st North Carolina Cavalry and the 2nd Virginia Cavalry.[xi]  Stuart intended to occupy Dranesville with his men while the foraging party collected hay from the surrounding farms.

The Confederate expedition left at dawn from the Confederate camp at Centreville.  The cavalry rode ahead of Stuart’s main body to take control of the two turnpikes at Dranesville and prevent Union pickets from learning about the Confederate’s movement.  As Capt. A.L. Pitzer of the 2nd Virginia Cavalry approached the village, he spotted Union troops and immediately sent word to Stuart.  The general rushed forward to take a look for himself.

The Confederate commander sized up the situation.  He “suspected that [the enemy] was either marching towards Leesburg or had received intelligence through a spy of our intended forage expedition and was marching upon it.”[xii]  Either way, Stuart knew that the “wagons would have fallen easy prey” to Ord’s men,[xiii] and he decided to attack the enemy in an effort to save them. Stuart urged the infantry to “hurry forward” to Dranesville and sent Pitzer to round up the wagons and accompany them back to Confederate lines.[xiv]  The wagons were widely scattered, but Pitzer managed to get them away from the impending engagement and back to Centreville. 

Ord entered Dranesville along the Leesburg-Alexandria Turnpike with his cavalry and artillery leading the way.  The Bucktails and the 9th Pennsylvania protected the column’s flanks.  As Ord approached, Confederate pickets caught sight of the Union troops and fled in all directions.  Ord suspected an attack from the direction of Centreville and oriented his force towards the southwest while the remainder of his brigade was marching to Dranesville.  He posted two companies of Bucktails, the 9th Pennsylvania, Easton’s battery, and the cavalry to protect the approaches to town.  The other companies from the Bucktail Regiment were sent to guard the pike in Ord’s rear. 

Confederate View - Dranesville
Confederate view down the Centreville Road (modern Reston Avenue) towards the Union artillery position on the far side of Leesburg Pike (Rob Shenk)

Stuart’s command, meanwhile, was fast approaching Dranesville along the road from Centreville, which met the Leesburg-Alexandria Turnpike just east of the pike’s intersection with the Leesburg-Georgetown Turnpike.  Stuart threw two companies of the 11th Virginia into the thick pine forests that lined each side of Centreville Road.  The skirmishers shot at scouts from the 12th Pennsylvania as the regiment approached Dranesville.   Before long, the Confederate skirmishers cleared the woods of Federal pickets.  Col. John Taggart, commander of the 12th Pennsylvania, sent his adjutant to tell Ord about the attack and prepared his men to meet the enemy.   

When Ord discovered the Confederate advance, he suddenly realized that he was too far west and was in danger of being cut off from behind.  Expecting the enemy to hit him on both sides of the Leesburg-Alexandria Turnpike, Ord directed the 10th Pennsylvania to assume a position on the north side of the pike and the 9th to move to the south.  The Bucktails were to engage any Confederates that approached along the pike.  Ord then raced off to position Easton’s guns. 

Kane, who was with the Bucktails to the north of the pike, detected suspicious troop movements to the south and southeast of Dranesville.  The Confederate flag soon appeared, and the enemy fired a few shots.  Kane rushed to put his Bucktails into a line of battle south of the pike around a brick dwelling known as Thornton’s House, which had served as McCall’s headquarters during the October expedition to Dranesville.  Kane realized that Thornton’s House would offer an advantageous position for his sharpshooters and ordered a company to occupy the structure.

Meanwhile, Capt. A.S. Cutts moved his Confederate battery into position astride the Centreville Road, about 500 yards from the front of the Union line.  His gunners suddenly opened on Ord’s men with what Taggart called “a heavy fire of shot and shell.”[xv]   Luckily for the Union soldiers, “the guns of the enemy were poorly served,” and most of the shots either flew over their heads or fell short.[xvi] 

Battle of Dranesville - Harpers WeeklyIllustration of the Battle of Dranesville found in the January 11, 1862 edition of Harper's Weekly.  This full page illustration shows the Union artillery firing across the Leesburg Pike and towards the distant Confederates in what is now the part of Reston, Virginia.  (Robert Shenk Collection/Harper's Weekly)

Reacting to the Confederate artillery fire, Kane ordered his men to lie down.  As one Bucktail recalled, some of the shells passed through Thornton’s House, “tearing the roof, piercing the walls, and bruising some of our men,”[xvii] but the soldiers held firm and maintained their position inside the house.  Kane’s men remained close to the ground, loading and firing whenever the enemy appeared.

Ord prepared his artillery to respond to the Confederates.  In the rush, one of the Union guns capsized, and the artillerymen paused to turn it upright.  Around fifteen minutes after the Confederate battery opened fire, Ord finally got three guns of Easton’s battery into position on an eminence known as Drane Hill.  This elevation, located just to the east of the intersection of the two turnpikes, dominated Centreville Road and the Confederate line.

9th Pennsylvania Reserves Flag
9th Pennsylvania Reserves Flag with a "Drainesville" battle honor at the top (Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee)

Around the same time that he was placing Easton’s battery, Ord determined that the attack was coming from south of the pike, and accordingly reoriented his line.  The Bucktails occupied the center, around the road to Centreville.  The 6th Pennsylvania and 9th Pennsylvania filed into position to the right of the Bucktails.  The 10th Pennsylvania moved to the left of the line beyond Easton’s guns.  Ord placed the 12th Pennsylvania along the Leesburg-Alexandria Turnpike in reserve.  The cavalry, which Ord saw as “of no use here,” was posted out of harm’s way to the north of the pike.[xviii]

As Easton’s battery opened fire on the Rebel guns, the Bucktails sent up a hearty cheer.  The “Bucktail Brass Band,” as the soldiers called it, had entered the fray.[xix]  One soldier recalled that “the big ball game, which up to this time had been all on one side, suddenly changed. . . .”[xx]  Ord, an old artilleryman himself, helped the gunners direct their fire with deadly accuracy.  Although the Confederate battery was obscured behind a slight rise, the Federals were able to sight the guns based on the smoke coming from the enemy’s guns.  Easton’s men found their mark and wreaked havoc on the Stuart’s battery. One of the shots exploded a caisson and killed several men. 

Stuart soon recognized the poor position occupied by his artillery.  Cutts was confined to Centreville Road with woods on either side of his guns.  As Stuart wrote in his official report of the battle, “[t]here was no outlet to right or left for a mile back. . . .”[xxi]  The Confederate fire began to slacken as Easton’s guns took their toll.

Meanwhile, Stuart readied his infantry to advance on the Union line.  The 6th South Carolina was placed to the left of Centreville Road.  Stuart sent the 1st Kentucky to the left of the South Carolinians.  While getting into position, the 1st Kentucky accidentally opened fire on the 6th South Carolina, killing five men.  Despite this unfortunate incident, the Kentuckians took their place and moved into the woods to the left. Stuart sent the 10th Alabama and 11th Virginia to the right of the road.

1st Kentucky Battle FlagBattle Flag of the 1st Kentucky Volunteers, Company E.  The 1st Kentucky, who fought at the Battle of Dranesville, received this flag in April 1861, near Moscow, Kentucky  (Museum of the Confederacy - MOC.org)

On the Union left, Col. John McCalmont, commander of the 10th Pennsylvania, worried about a Confederate move to turn his flank.  He sent a platoon under Capt. Thomas McConnell to guard the extreme left and “pick off the artillerymen of the enemy.” [xxii]  As McConnell’s men advanced into a clearing near the edge of the woods south of the turnpike, they suddenly realized that the 10th Alabama was moving to outflank Ord’s line.  McConnell’s men took cover in gullies and drove the Alabamians back two times.   

Around the Union center, the Bucktails grew more confident under the protection of Easton’s guns.  Kane’s men stood up and marched towards the oncoming Confederates of the 10th Alabama and 6th South Carolina, who were advancing through the woods to their front.  The fighting grew intense, as the two sides clashed in what one soldier remembered as “the hottest part of the fight.”[xxiii]  The Bucktails ended up with the highest number of Union casualties that day, with 3 killed and 26 wounded.[xxiv]

Battle of Dranesville Map - Segment
Portion of a map showing the Battle of Dranesville (Library of Congress)

By now, Ord felt that Easton had the situation under control.  Telling the gunners to “keep at that,”[xxv] Ord went to urge his regiments to advance on the Confederate line.   Unlike some of the other regiments, the Bucktails needed little encouragement.  Kane boldly led his men forward.  As the regiment advanced, a bullet hit Kane in the upper jaw.  After pausing to bandage the wound, the officer, already weakened by illness, continued at the head of his regiment as the Bucktails pressed the attack.

McCall, meanwhile, had learned earlier in the day from Ord about the presence of a considerable body of enemy troops near Dranesville.  He raced towards the town, and arrived as Easton’s battery was unleashing its destructive fire.  McCall sent for Reynolds, who was at Difficult Creek.  Meade had heard the din of battle and also set out with his brigade for Dranesville before receiving orders.  Neither brigade would arrive in time to join the fight. 

The 9th Pennsylvania under Col. Conrad Jackson proved eager to attack.  As his men surged into the woods to their front, they ran into the 1st Kentucky.  Someone in the Confederate ranks yelled, “Don’t fire on us.”  One of Jackson’s men asked if the regiment was the Bucktails, to which the Kentuckians responded, “Yes, we are the Bucktails; don’t fire.”[xxvi]  This ruse caused confusion in the ranks, and Jackson, afraid of killing his fellow Pennsylvanians, directed his men to hold their fire.  Jackson soon discovered his mistake.  He gave the order to fire, and his men unleashed a volley into the Kentuckians. 

Ord finally got the remainder of his regiments to join the chase.  The 6th Pennsylvania, supporting the Bucktails, moved towards Stuart’s center and right, while Taggart of the 12th Pennsylvania dismounted and led his men through woods and fields to the enemy’s left in search of Stuart's guns.  The battery was nowhere to be found.  Stuart, it turns out, had decided to withdraw from the field. The Confederate commander learned that Federal reinforcements were on the way and knew that he could not continue the fight “without fearful sacrifice,”[xxvii] particularly since Easton’s battery had severely crippled his artillery.  Most importantly, Stuart had afforded the forage wagons “ample time” to get out of harm’s way.[xxviii]  Stuart gave the order to fall back.  His men retired “slowly and in perfect order” to the Alexandria, Loudoun & Hampshire Railroad, prepared to make a stand, but the enemy never came, and Stuart moved to Frying Pan Church for the night.[xxix]   

Meanwhile, McCall located Ord on the field and rode up to consult with him.  The commander approved Ord’s plan to pursue Stuart’s retreating force.  The Union troops pressed forward a half mile, but Stuart was long gone, and McCall recalled the regiments and prepared for the march back to Langley.  While retreating, one of the Confederate regiments forgot to retrieve the knapsacks and blankets that they had left on the roadside before the fight.  The triumphant Yankees found these items scattered about the former Confederate position and interpreted them as a sign of a hasty retreat.

10th Pennsylvania Reserves Flag
This 10th Pennsylvania Reserves Flag includes a faded battle honor to "Dranesville" (Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee)

The Pennsylvanians gathered up their wounded for the return. Owing to the insufficiency of ambulances, they were forced to leave a number of wounded prisoners in the care of locals and to carry some of their own injured on stretchers.  Ord’s foraging party managed to gather sixteen wagon loads of hay and twenty-two wagon loads of corn.  As the regiments arrived at Camp Pierpont later that evening, they were greeted by the cheers of fellow soldiers who had learned of the victory.

The battle cost the Confederates 43 killed, 143 wounded, and 8 missing.[xxx]  Stuart returned the next day with the 9th Georgia, 18th Virginia, and a detachment of cavalry to collect his dead and wounded.  The Union had suffered less, with casualties of 7 killed and 61 wounded.[xxxi] 

The Northern public was looking for a morale boost after the disasters at Bull Run and Ball’s Bluff, and Dranesville fit the bill.  The Northern newspapers reacted predictably to the Union win.  “A Glorious Fight,” proclaimed the New York Times.[xxxii]  The Pennsylvania Daily Telegraph carried a headline announcing the “Grand Victory in Virginia,”[xxxiii] while the Pittsburgh Daily Gazette and Advertiser bragged that “[t]he enemy were completely routed, and fled precipitately.”[xxxiv]  Perhaps the Philadelphia Press captured a better sense of reality, telling readers, “We have had a splendid little affair in front of Washington . . . which will furnish food for the ‘Onward to Richmond’ party for a few days. . . .”[xxxv]

Simon Cameron
Simon Cameron - United States Secretary of War (Library of Congress)

Pennsylvania politicians heaped praise on the state’s volunteers who had beaten back Stuart at Dranesville.  Secretary of War Simon Cameron wrote to McCall that Dranesville was “one of the bright spots that give assurance of the success of coming events, and its effect must be to inspire confidence in the belief that hereafter, as heretofore, the cause of our country will triumph.”[xxxvi]  Governor Curtin issued a proclamation recognizing the “courage, conduct, and high discipline” of troops at Dranesville, which had brought honor “to the corps and to the Commonwealth.”[xxxvii]  Not long after the battle, Curtin traveled to Camp Pierpont, where he visited the wounded and conducted a military review of McCall’s division.  The governor ordered that the regimental standards be inscribed with the name and date of the Battle of Dranesville.

Despite all of the rhetoric, the engagement had not gone as smoothly as Ord would have liked. After the battle, Ord told Meade in confidence that the men had performed “better than he expected, but not so well as they ought; that there was much shirking and running away on the part of both officers and men.”[xxxviii]  Meade believed that “[t]he fact that the enemy were routed . . . will always be held up to show how gallantly the volunteers can and did behave,” but that “the world will never know that it was the judicious posting and serving of the battery by Ord. . . which demoralized and threw into confusion the enemy. . . .”[xxxix]  Meade concluded that “[h]ad the artillery of the enemy been served as ours was . . . [Ord] could not have kept his command together five minutes.”[xl]  Meade also resented that McCall, who had arrived after the battle started, was getting “the lion’s share of the glory” for the win; he knew that “Ord was the man.”[xli]

Dranesville - Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper
While a small battle by later standards of the Civil War, the December 20, 1861 Battle of Dranesville was a big story in late 1861.  Northern citizens clamored for any battlefield success after a string of painful defeats.  This illustration was in the January 11, 1862 edition of Frank Leslie's Illustrated News  (Library of Congress)

Southern newspapers generally viewed Dranesville as a Confederate setback.  The Richmond Daily Dispatch considered that the fight “resulted disastrously to us,”[xlii] while the Richmond Examiner recalled that the past year had “closed under gloomy auspices,” including “a check at Dranesville.”[xliii]  The Mobile Register and Advertiser felt that “[t]he affair at Dranesville contributed its mite to the depression of the public spirit.[xliv]

The Confederate commander had his own take on the battle.  As Stuart wrote in this official report, “when it is considered what overwhelming odds were against us, notwithstanding which we saved the transportation, inflicted upon the enemy loss severer than our own, rendering him unequal to the task of pursuit, retired in perfect order, and bringing with us nearly all our wounded, we may rightly call it a glorious success.”[xlv]  Stuart’s belief that the Union suffered more casualties was likely based on reports from locals that Ord carried off twenty wagon loads of killed and wounded.   Stuart also felt lucky to have survived the battle unscathed.  As he told his wife, “I was never in greater personal danger & men & horses fell around me like ten-pins....”[xlvi]

Dranesville Lost
The Dranesville Battlefield has been lost to highways, urban development, and large home sites like this one. (Rob Shenk)

Stuart’s troops seemed less confident that they had scored a “glorious success.”  According to a former assistant adjutant-general to Stuart, the Confederate commander’s men “felt that they had been overmatched and worsted in a hot fight. . . .”[xlvii]  However, the soldiers still admired Stuart because he had “extricated them from their danger.”[xlviii]

J.B. Jones, a Confederate War Department clerk, believed that Stuart had been led into a trap. He wrote in this diary that recently released Unionist prisoners had returned to Dranesville, where they convinced Stuart to forage in the vicinity, while at the same time sending word of the expedition to the Union Army.  The Union and Confederate reports from the battle do not confirm such a ruse, although McCall’s reports do suggest that he and Ord received intelligence on Confederate picket positions and troop strength that may have originated with locals.  Stuart also suspected that a spy may have told the enemy about his intended expedition.

Dranesville marked the only significant military action in Northern Virginia until later the following year.   The glow of the Union victory would not last long, and McClellan would continue to face mounting political pressures for a general offensive against the Confederates.  The small engagement had at least given a boost to Northern morale, which had taken a hit during the summer and fall.  Over time, Dranesville would fade from popular memory, overshadowed by places like Antietam, Gettysburg, and the Wilderness, but for a short time 150 years ago, the battle was the talk of the nation. 

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ron Baumgarten was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and now resides in McLean, Virginia with his wife and twin boys.  He holds a B.A. from American University and a J.D. from Boston University School of Law.  Ron writes the blog, All Not So Quiet Along the Potomac , which examines Civil War history in and around Northern Virginia.   When not reading and writing about the Civil War, Ron works for the U.S. Government in the field of international trade.



[i] Philadelphia Press, Dec. 24, 1861.

[ii] Philadelphia Press, Dec. 24, 1861.

[iii] Letter from Meade to wife, Dec. 5, 1861, in George G. Meade (ed.), The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 1, 233 (New York, 1913).

[iv] The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies ("Official Records"), Series I, Vol. 5, 456 (Washington, 1881).

[v] Official Records, I:5, 474.

[vi] Official Records, I:5, 480.

[vii] Officials Records, I:5, 481.

[viii] Philadelphia Press, Dec. 24, 1861.

[ix] Official Records, I:5, 474.

[x] Official Records, I:5, 478.

[xi] Official Records, I:5, 490.

[xii] Official Records, I:5, 490.

[xiii] Official Records, I:5, 490-91.

[xiv] Official Records, I:5, 491.

[xv] Official Records, I:5, 487.

[xvi] Philadelphia Press, Dec. 24, 1861.

[xvii] Letter from Pvt. William H. Clark, Co. D, 13th Pennsylvania Reserves (Bucktails), published in Warren Ledger, Jan. 1, 1862, available at www.pareserves.com.

[xviii] Official Records, I:5, 478.

[xix] Philadelphia Press, Dec. 27, 1861.

[xx] Letter from Unknown Soldier, Co. E, 13th Pennsylvania Reserves (Bucktails), Dec. 23, 1861, published in Wellsboro Agitator, Jan. 8, 1862, available at www.pareserves.com.

[xxi] Official Records, I:5, 491.

[xxii] Official Records, I:5, 485.

[xxiii] Letter from Unknown Soldier, Co. E, 13th Pennsylvania Reserves (Bucktails), Dec. 23, 1861, published in Wellsboro Agitator, Jan. 8, 1862, available at www.pareserves.com.

[xxiv] Official Records, I:5, 489.

[xxv] Official Records, I:5, 479.

[xxvi] Official Records, I:5, 483.

[xxvii] Official Records, I:5, 492.

[xxviii] Official Records, I:5, 492.

[xxix] Official Records, I:5, 492.

[xxx] Official Records, I:5, 494.

[xxxi] Official Records, I:5, 489.

[xxxii] New York Times, Dec. 21, 1861.

[xxxiii] Pennsylvania Daily Telegraph, Dec. 23, 1861.

[xxxiv] Pittsburgh Daily Gazette and Advertiser, Dec. 23, 1861.

[xxxv] Philadelphia Press, Dec. 23, 1861.

[xxxvi] Official Records, I:5, 477.

[xxxvii] Sypher,J.R.  History of the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, 140 (Lancaster, 1865).

[xxxviii] Letter from Meade to wife, Dec. 21, 1861, in Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 1, 237.

[xxxix] Letter from Meade to wife, Dec. 21, 1861, in Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 1, 237-38.

[xl] Letter from Meade to wife, Dec. 21, 1861, in Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 1, 238.

[xli] Letter from Meade to wife, Dec. 27, 1861, in Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 1, 240.

[xlii] Richmond Daily Dispatch, Dec. 23, 1861.

[xliii] Philadelphia Press, Jan. 6, 1862 (quoting Richmond Examiner, Jan. 2, 1862).

[xliv] Philadelphia Press, Jan. 11, 1862 (quoting Mobile Register and Advertiser, Dec. 31, 1861).

[xlv] Officials Records, I:5, 494.

[xlvi] Letter from J.E.B. Stuart to wife, Dec. 23, 1861, available at http://headquartersanv.blogspot.com.

[xlvii] McClellan, Henry Brainerd, The Life and Campaigns of Major-General J.E.B. Stuart, 45 (Richmond, 1885).

[xlviii] McClellan, The Life and Campaigns of Major-General J.E.B. Stuart, 45.

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