Picket Duty on the Rappahannock River

Writing after the war, Bvt. Col. Benjamin Crowninshield, 1st Massachusetts Cavalry, explained the vital importance of outpost, vidette or picket duty.  “On the skill and fidelity of cavalry depends the safety of the army.”  Cavalry, Crowninshield continued, “is constantly employed…in the hardest and most inglorious service in the world, outpost and vidette duty, – where…

“Many of these families are suffering”

One of the themes I plan to examine from time to time is the inter-action between the Union cavalry and Southern civilians.  This relationship was, understandably, fractious at best and frequently fraught with danger, for soldier and civilian alike.  All too often the soldiers and non-combatants were verbally and physically abusive toward each other.  Confrontations…

Reprimanded – Custer, Meade, Humphreys and ‘Bushwhackers’

The editors of the Official Records assumed a staggering task when they began gathering and organizing the thousands of battle reports, telegrams, letters and other documents held by the War Department following the Civil War. The work was actually authorized before the final guns went silent in the spring of 1865. The task took decades,…