Part of the Emerging Civil War Series, this history covers a crucial clash between the Blue and the Gray that impacted future Union tactics and victories.
The months after the Battle of Gettysburg were anything but quiet—filled with skirmishes and cavalry clashes. Nonetheless, Union commander Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade had yet to encounter his Confederate counterpart, Gen. Robert E. Lee, in combat.
Lee’s army, severely bloodied at Gettysburg, did not have the offensive capability it once possessed. Yet Lee’s aggressive nature could not be quelled, and he looked for the chance to strike out at Meade.
In mid-October, 1863, both men shifted their armies into motion, each surprising the other. Quickly, Meade found himself racing northward for safety along the Orange & Alexandria Railroad, with Lee charging up the rail line behind him.
Last stop: Bristoe Station, Virginia.
In A Want of Vigilance, authors Bill Backus and Robert Orrison trace the battle from the armies’ camps around Orange and Culpeper through the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and along the vital railroad—to Centreville and back—in one of the war’s most little-known confrontations, pitting the “goggle-eyed snapping turtle” against “the old gray fox.”
“An excellent short summary of a complex but often overlooked period of the Civil War. The tactical stalemates of Bristoe and later Mine Run led to the reorganization of the Union war effort in the East and the subsequent Overland Campaign of the Spring and Summer of 1864.” —Civil War News