Brandy Station Battle Hero

Brandy Station

Fleetwood Hill

You are here

SHARE THIS

 

At the outset of the Gettysburg Campaign, General Robert E. Lee sought to keep his advance westward into the Shenandoah Valley hidden from the Union army.  With his forces near Culpeper, Virginia on the verge of turning north into the valley, Lee ordered Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart to launch a diversionary cavalry raid on June 9, 1863.  However, Union cavalry commander Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton anticipated the raid and struck Stuart’s men in camp at Brandy Station on the day the Confederate incursion was set to begin. Pleasanton moved across Beverly Ford on the Rappahannock at dawn and struck Stuart's unsuspecting cavalrymen. Some Union infantry regiments also helped initially push the Confederates back.  Stuart was able to hold off repeated Union attacks from the north, east and south, and was ultimately able to rally his troopers on Fleetwood Hill. Despite the advantage of surprise, the battle ended in a narrow defeat for Pleasonton’s forces and Lee’s infantry at Culpeper remained undetected.  Nevertheless, the Battle of Brandy Station, the largest predominantly mounted engagement to ever take place on the American continent, greatly improved the confidence of the Union cavalry.  Stuart was harshly criticized for his unpreparedness spurred by vanity, foreshadowing graver failures in the near future.

Battle Facts

Result

Inconclusive
COMMANDERS
Forces Engaged
20,500

Union

11,000

Confederate

9,500
Total Estimated Casualties
1,299

Union

866
81
killed
403
wounded
382
missing & captured

Confederate

433
51
killed
250
wounded
132
missing & captured