Saturday, November 30, 2013

Battle of Mine Run

Monday, November 30, 1863

Army of the Potomac commander General George Meade planned to move against the Confederates by crossing the Rapidan River in three columns, with the Third and Sixth Corps crossing at Jacob’s Ford, the Second Corps crossing at Germanna Ford, and the the First and Fifth Corps crossing at Culpeper Mine Ford. General Meade planned to maneuver around the Confederate entrenchments and to attack General Richard Ewell before General Ambrose Powell "A.P." Hill could assist. Although Meade had planned to commence the march on November 26, General William French, commander of the Third Corps, delayed in assembling his forces, and Meade subsequently began the march on November 27.

The Union plan was further hindered when General French took the wrong route and engaged in battle with the Confederates, delaying the concentration of the Army of the Potomac until the morning of Saturday, November 28. During this time, General Robert E. Lee was following Union troop movements, and repositioned his army so that any element of surprise was eliminated. The two armies deployed in heavy rain along Mine Run, facing each other on opposite sides of the river along a ravine. On Sunday, November 29, the Union army spent the entire day studying the position of both armies to determine the optimal points of attack. Although Union General George Meade planned an attack for early Monday morning, he cancelled the attack, believing in limited success due to poor positioning and extreme weather. 1

1George A. Bruce, The Twentieth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry 1861 - 1865 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Riverside Press, 1906), 319-23.

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