Friday, August 2, 2013

August 2, 1863: Cavalry skirmishes along the Rappahannock River

Brigadier General John Buford, U.S. Volunteers.

After the close of the Gettysburg campaign, the Army of Northern Virginia and Army of the Potomac returned to the vicinity of the western Rappahannock River. Along the line of this river and its few fords, the cavalry of both armies patrolled, screened, and probed, as the armies found their way back into a kind of equilibrium. On August 1, 1863, John Buford's cavalry division had fought a brisk skirmish on the south side of the Rappahannock River. Fighting in the heat and humidity of a Virginia August is exhausting work, and on this day 150 years ago, Buford and his men fell back to the river to rest and quench their thirst.

Col A. J. Alexander,

Chief of Staff Corps:

I have been compelled to move closer to the river than I wished, on account of water. The whole division is now within a mile of the bridge, on both sides of the railroad. The rebel pickets are within 1 1/2 miles of the division. Yesterday was a very severe day upon men and horses. I myself am worthless.

JNO. Buford,

Brigadier-General of Volunteers.

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