Cowardice of Unbridled Ambition? Part 2

Some readers may find the first reported incident of Lt. Col. David Clendenin’s cowardice confusing, because the 8th Illinois, attached to Col. ‘Grimes’ Davis’s brigade, had accompanied Stoneman on his raid. So how had the regiment been in position to fire on Stoneman’s troopers when they returned to Union lines on May 8? Colonel Davis’s…

Cowardice or Unbridled Ambition? Part 1

Turning his 8th Illinois Cavalry into the fields just east of Upperville and north of the Ashby’s Gap Turnpike on June 21, 1863, Lieut. Col. David Clendenin saw enemy supply wagons, artillery, and cavalry moving along Trappe Road, about 1,000 yards to the west. He could not foresee, however, how the next few moments would…

Roses for National Cemeteries

I find my trips to the National Archives, especially when I follow my curiosity, almost always rewarded with something new or unexpected. Such was the case on my last visit to the Archives before the pandemic forced the facility to shut down. Having pulled a box of Quartermaster records regarding an unrelated subject, I found…

Ripped from Today’s Headlines

I offer the following without any intent to enter the present debates or political acrimony connected with the subject. Nor do I offer or solicit any opinions on the question. Rather, the topic of the first order cited below simply piqued my interest – how could it not – and I sought to look a…

A Short Announcement of Self-Promotion

My first book, The Cavalry Battles of Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville, has long been out of print, and secondary market prices now put copies beyond the reach of many prospective buyers. Shortly before we moved back to Virginia, I decided to re-write the book, in part to bring the story back at an affordable price.…

Questions of interpretation

Years after the war, Judson Kilpatrick addressed a reunion of veterans of the 1st Maine Cavalry. Describing his brigade’s fight at Fleetwood Hill, June 9, 1863, the former general explained how the Tenth New York “had gone in and then come out.” He had watched with dismay, he told the aging soldiers, as his own…

Turmoil in the 4th New York Volunteer Cavalry

I am pleased to welcome Bob Moran to Small but Important Riots. Bob served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam, and is now retired from the Boeing Company. He lives with his wife of 49 years in Fairfax County, Virginia, and serves as a docent at Historic Blenheim in Fairfax City. There, he also helps…

Capt. Samuel McKee, 1st U.S. Cavalry

As a follow on to my previous posts regarding leadership in the Cavalry Corps, I am going to focus this month on one officer who appeared repeatedly in early drafts of my new Small but Important Riots manuscript. Unfortunately, he always appeared on the periphery of the story, and wound up being excised from most…