“We were in fit shape for a rift with Meade” The Fall Campaign of 1863 Begins

Emerging Civil War

Wallach House, Maj. Gen. George Meade's Headquarters in Culpeper, VA Courtesy Library of Congress Wallach House, Maj. Gen. George Meade’s Headquarters in Culpeper, VA
Courtesy Library of Congress

By October 1863, the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac stared at one another on either side of the Rapidan River. Lee’s army held the land south of the Rapidan around Orange. North of the Rapidan, Meade’s army was centered on Culpeper. Since the victory at Gettysburg, the Lincoln administration and Maj. Gen. Halleck pushed Meade to keep up the pressure on Lee. But for one reason or another, Meade was unable to draw Lee into battle. Meade’s inaction in September led the Confederacy to send Longstreet with two of his divisions west to join Maj. Gen. Bragg in northern Georgia.

On September 19-20, Longsteet’s reinforcements to Bragg proved crucial to the Confederate victory over Rosecrans at the Battle of Chickamauga. Now Rosecrans was bottled up at Chattanooga and it seemed the northern…

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