ONE HUNDRED YEARS WITH THE SECOND CAVALRY
By Joseph I. Lambert, Major, Second Cavalry
Copyright 1939 Commanding Officer, Second Cavalry, Fort Riley, Kansas
Capper Printing Company, Inc.
Lee’s object was to invade the North from the Shenandoah Valley, protecting his right by holding the mountain passes with Stuart’s cavalry and Longstreet’s infantry corps. By June 15, Stuart held Thoroughfare and Aldie Gaps in the Bull Run Mountains. From June 14 to 17, Pleasanton’s cavalry corps was covering the movement of the Army of the Potomac northward. On June 17, Pleasanton was sent to find out what Lee was doing. His plan was to move on Aldie with Buford and Gregg’s cavalry divisions and Barnes’ infantry division, and to send a regiment under Duffie to Middleburg. The Second Cavalry belonged to the Reserve Brigade of Buford’s division. It was during this march to Aldie that Company C joined the regiment from service in the western theater, uniting the command for the first time during the war.
Reaching Aldie June 18, the regiment remained saddled all day awaiting orders. During that night it was annoyed by guerrillas firing from stone walls and other cover. Soon after starting toward Middleburg on the morning of the 19th, the leading battalion was attacked near Goose Creek and captured several prisoners. There was desperate fighting all day by Gregg’s division at Middleburg, during which the enemy’s right flank was turned and he fell back one-half mile to a stronger position. It was during the fighting near this town that the Second and some Rebels made a rush for the same stone wall, the former reaching it first. There was severe fighting with small arms and finally the enemy was repulsed.
On June 21, 1863, Stuart’s five brigades extended from Middleburg to Union as a screen to Lee’s movements. On this date Gregg’s division was placed in position against the enemy right, the infantry in the center, and Buford’s division on the enemy left. Gregg steadily drove the Confederates back to Upperville, where Buford’s Division cooperated. At four in the afternoon there was a charge of the whole regular brigade, consisting of the Second, Fifth, and Sixth Cavalry in column of squadrons. By a liberal use of the saber, severe damage was inflicted upon the foe and he was soon driven from the field. After repeated charges on both sides the Confederates were driven to Ashby’s Gap, which was occupied that night by a portion of Longstreet’s corps. Pleasanton fell back to Aldie June 22, and in a few days joined the Army of the Potomac.