Trudeau to Take on Bristoe Station and Mine Run?

by Brett Schulte on September 25, 2008 · 2 comments

I’ve long wished for a good campaign study looking at the clashes between the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia from after Gettysburg through the end of 1863.  As many TOCWOC readers know, both sides sent one or more corps west to the fighting at Chickamauga and Chattanooga.  Despite this, the fall of 1863 wasn’t as quiet as you might think.  Lee tried to trap Meade in northern Virginia in October just as he had done to Pope in August 1862.  Instead of allowing the third battle of Bull Run to take place however, the more than capable Meade chose the cautious path and retreated alertly, bloodying a portion of A.P. Hill’s Third Corps at Bristoe Station in the process.  Meade by this point wanted to settle into winter quarters, but pressure from Washington forced him into a winter campaign.  After a successful beginning to this campaign for the Union at Rappahannock Station, Lee’s formidable Mine Run fortifications forced a stalemate on Meade at the end of November, thus ending the campaign.

Where am I going with all of this you ask?  I’ll tell you.  I am over halfway through Eric Wittenberg, JD Petruzzi, and Mike Nugent’s book One Continuous Fight, which focuses on the numerous battles and skirmishes fought from July 4-14, 1863 as Lee attempted to remove his large number of wounded men from Gettysburg and escape into Virginia intact.  In the preface to the book, well known author Noah Andre Trudeau talks quite a bit about the need to start chronicling the action between these two armies from July 4, 1863 through to the end of the year.  In reading the Preface, one gets the feeling he may be taking up the torch and writing just such a campaign study.  It might be nothing, but I thought I’d mention it as I found this subject matter very interesting and unexpected for the Preface of a book covering the retreat from Gettysburg.  Trudeau just had Southern Storm published, so naturally he’s got to be working on something else currently.  Right?  Let the rampant speculation begin!  😉


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

marty hancock September 25, 2008 at 12:23 pm

Brett,
I’m glad you mention Meade’s performance. Many believe, as I once did, that Meade was just another in a long line of mediocre AoP commanders. Not so.
His biggest faults were his violent temper, which led to very rough handling of subordinates, and his disdain for the press. To make matters worse, when Sickles got his leg blown off, mainly for not being where Meade had ordered him to be, Dastardly Dan went to Washington, where he had many influential friends, and lambasted Meade while giving credit for the victory to himself. The press was only too happy to show Mease as a moron, and Sickles made sure Meade had many enemies in high places.
Then Meade made the unfortunate comment that ” We have driven the enemy from our country,” (not an exact quote) to which Lincoln responded “Its ALL our country!”
Abe also felt that Meade should have chased down Lee before he got back across the Potomac and ended the war right there.
But from most accounts I’ve heard and read, Meade was a soldier’s soldier. He was Reynolds’ suggestion to Lincoln when the Pennsylvanian turned down the head post himself. Grant was effusive in his praise, while pointing out Meade’s temper as his only real downfall.

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