Marching On Richmond: Fall 1863

Following on from our action on the Gettysburg-Hanover railroad, a major action was fought by the Army of the Potomac against General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia – this epic 3 day encounter was thought to have decided the war, but as usual the Confederates managed to slip away from us and retire to the safety of Virginia with our pursuit proving cumbersome and erratic. The outstanding performance of our new commander (General Meade) at Gettysburg was somewhat tarred by the escape of Lee and ‘his boys’ and we spent the next two months playing a very ponderous game of cat and mouse around Northern Virginia! However good news had come from the west, at the same as we were at Gettysburg, my namesake General ‘Ulysses’ S. Grant had defeated the rebs at Vicksburg, and finally wrestled control of the mighty Mississippi – the Confederacy was cut in two. Shortly after General Grant was promoted to command of all the U.S. armies and headed east to join us, basing himself with the Army of the Potomac.

The 54th Massachusetts Advance!

The 54th Massachusetts Advance!

We had had a rather nasty beating at the Hanover Railroad Embankment (as we had dubbed the battle of 30 June), and my division was a bit of a mess. As a result we avoided the bulk of the action at Gettysburg and took some time to recover our battle-worthiness. My regiments had all taken heavy casualties and took some time to recover what strength they could. As usual replacements were few and far between from each regiment’s home state & depot, and many of our wounded did not return. However on the whole our men took the loss well and were eager for a chance to show the rebs they weren’t beaten yet. The 4th Maine had since been dubbed the “Magnificent” by all of us, for their outstanding efforts in both of our last battles, and the new 54th Massachusetts (Coloured) Infantry had won the begrudging respect, and the nickname ‘Unstoppable“, of the rest of the division after having charged and thrown back the veteran 11th Virginia twice and then thrown them back a third time when they counter-attacked and retained possession of the ground they captured, all in just their very first action!

As mentioned both our artillery batteries suffered heavily and we lost all the ordnance, so we were assigned two new batteries in the meantime (although lacking their third sections of guns detached elsewhere). Both of our previous batteries had not had their third sections present either, so we hoped to see them rejoin us after the survivors were able to rebuild the batteries around the surviving sections. Finally we received our usual draft of fresh units into the division, some fresh infantry, in the form of the 1st Minnesota.

The 54th Massachusetts Have Thrown Back The 11th Virginia (Again)!

The 54th Massachusetts Have Thrown Back The 11th Virginia (Again)!

My division was now constituted thus:

  • The “Fighting Sixty-Ninth” 69th New York (Strength 5; Veteran)
  • 4th “Magnificent” Maine (Strength 9; Hero; Ol’ Reliables)
  • 6th New Jersey (Strength 3; Veteran)
  • 2nd New Hampshire (Strength 3; Veteran)
  • 4th Vermont Infantry Regiment (Strength 4; Veteran)
  • 20th Indiana (Strength 4; Veteran)
  • 54th “Unstoppable” Massachusetts (Coloured) Infantry (Strength 5; Veteran)
  • 1st Minnesota Infantry Regiment (Strength 7)
  • Battery L, 1st Ohio Light Artillery (2 x Rifles)
  • Battery 2, New Jersey Light Artillery (2 x Napoleons)
  • Victory Points Accumulated: 18
My Division by October 1863.

My Division by October 1863.

General Longman’s Confederate force was now officially a division we had heard, although was not significantly different (other than receiving some replacements from the regimental depots and a small reinforcement). My men had dubbed the 4th Virginia Cavalry “Deadly On 2 Legs” after their dismounted action that had near routed the 20th Maine, and also discovered the Rebs themselves had given the 11th Virginia the slogan “Rolls With The Punches” after it’s seeming ability to always survive each battle despite being often in the thick of the action (it had been in action, along with the 2nd Virginia Cavalry, with General Longman since 1861)! So Longman’s division as of October 1863 was thus:

  • 11th Virginia “Rolls With The Punches” (Strength 7; Veteran; Hero; Sharpshooters)
  • 10th Alabama (Strength 4; Veteran)
  • 9th South Carolina (Strength 8; Veteran)
  • 14th North Carolina (Strength 8; Veteran)
  • 14th Louisiana (Strength 4; Veteran)
  • 2nd Virginia “Lynchburg Cougars” Cavalry (Strength 3)
  • 4th Virginia “Deadly On 2 Legs” Cavalry (Strength 7; Veteran)
  • “Loudon” Artillery Battery (1 x Rifle; 1 x 6pdr)
  • “Lynchburg” Artillery Battery (1 x Rifle; 1 x Napoleon)
  • Victory Points Accumulated: 28
General Longman's Confederate Division.

General Longman’s Confederate Division, October 1863.

Suddenly in October there was a flurry of activity – as Fall was turning to Winter we marched North again, retiring along the Orange & Alexandria Railroad; alongside Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, as the Confederates tried to turn our western flank

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