This week 150 years ago during the Civil War the major military moves of mid-summer tapered off but heavy skirmishing continued.
On Aug. 1, 1863, Gen. George Meade's anemic pursuit of Gen. Robert E. Lee's army following the Battle of Gettysburg finally petered out at Brandy Station, arguably the most fought-over piece of real estate of the Civil War.
Ironically enough, the Gettysburg campaign ended at the same place it started on June 9, 1863, when the greatest, mostly cavalry action ever fought on North American soil took place.
This final battle of the Gettysburg campaign at Brandy Station was also largely a cavalry engagement.
The Union's John Buford, the hero of the opening battle of Gettysburg on July 1, pitted his First Cavalry Division against Confederate Gen. Wade Hampton's Cavalry Brigade and an attached contingent of Confederate horse artillery. Hampton, however, was absent from command that day, replaced by Col. Pierce M.B. Young.
In fighting that lasted most of the day Buford had driven the enemy deep toward Culpepper Courthouse and nearly surrounded Young's forces. But the latter escaped destruction by tactical use of canister at very short range and unexpected, late infantry support. With the presence of the enemy infantry, Buford retired back across the Rappahanock, ending any further pursuit of Lee's army.
Meanwhile, on July 29, 1863, Queen Victoria of Britain told the Parliament that she saw "no reason to depart from the strict neutrality which Her Majesty has observed from the beginning of the contest." Her sentiment pretty much sunk all Confederate hopes of ever securing its independence through foreign intervention. President Jefferson Davis and Lee's hopes in that regard were dashed.
On the following day President Abraham Lincoln issued orders that the government of the United States would "give the same protection to all its soldiers, and if the enemy shall sell or enslave anyone (Union prisoners) because of his color, the offense shall be punished by retaliation upon the enemy's prisoners in our possession."
Locally, the Western Reserve Chronicle abounded with stories about John Hunt Morgan's raid, the only Civil War military action that occurred on Buckeye soil. The raid ended when Morgan was captured on Sunday, July 26, at Salineville in Columbiana County.
Although the raid struck fear in the hearts of many Ohioans, it had little military importance and denied to the Confederacy better use of its troops thus engaged.
One such story was a report sent in by correspondent "J.W.J." - perhaps Trumbull's John W. Jackson of Green and Company G - of the 86th OVI.
The 86th had been formed as a six-month unit in Cleveland just on July 17, 1863. It moved to Zanesville on July 19 and sent an expedition against Morgan on July 20. Its commander was Col. Wilson C. Lemert. The unit ultimately lost 37 men, all to disease.
J.W.J. reported from Camp Tod near Columbus on Aug. 1, 1863, as follows:
"Thinking a few words concerning the 86th, in relation to the part it took in the capture of the famous raider Morgan, who has so convulsed our state, would be of interest to your readers, I seize the first leisure moment to give you a brief sketch.
''On the morning of the 22nd ultimo, we left camp in light marching order for Zanesville, to engage Morgan. Reaching that place about 7:00 p.m., we were quartered on the premises of the Seminary and ordered to be ready to march at a moment's notice.
''Four companies were placed under the command of our Lt. Col. McFarland (later president of Miami University from 1885 to 1888), and among which were the Trumbull County boys, and ordered to Eaglesport, some 18 miles down the river Muskingum, in order to prevent the crossing of Morgan.
''Though we were under arms at about half past twelve and on board the boat about two, yet we did not start till five a.m. Buoyant and merry we glided down the river till we neared the place of our destination, when we were informed by the militia scouts that Morgan had crossed and was coming up the river road.
''We immediately hove to, landed and filed up a steep hill and took a good position commanding the road. Morgan, having ascertained our position some way or other, wheeled to the right, his main force on another road parallel to the river road and two miles distant. Col. McFarland, having ascertained the movement, immediately drew his force to intercept him.
''Hardly had we taken position when the enemy's pickets were discovered and fire into, killing one and wounding another, after which they fled.
''Being foiled in his attempt to pass on this road without exposing himself to a severe fire, as our position was impregnable, he filed right to make the Cumberland Road. At this point we marched on the base of a triangle, on double quick, and attacked his rear, causing him to form in line of battle. Here a brisk skirmish ensued in which the enemy lost in killed and wounded fifteen, before he sought safety in flight.
''We being on foot and the enemy over double our number, it was useless for us to pursue him: hence we were ordered back to the river. Thus we held him in check about four hours, killed and wounded 17 of his men, and retarded his progress so as to enable the cavalry of General Shackleford to harass his rear.
''Knowing that he was making north with that accelerated motion for which he is noted, we reported at Zanesville that night and awaited orders. That city was thrown into the wildest excitement - scouts coming in reporting him (Morgan) a few miles from the suburbs.
''We were ordered into line and under arms all day. Toward night were ordered to Belle Air, and were to cut off his retreat in case he was not captured at Salineville. But the scene was changed - he was captured, as you are aware.
''The balance of the regiment, commanded by Colonel Lemmert (sic), were at the scene of the capture, the colonel having obtained horses at Zanesville for most of his men.
''Our division guarded the prisoners, some six hundred in number, to Camp Chase. On Monday we arrived at our pleasant camp again, situated on the bank of the river. Thus the 86th contributed some to the capture of the arch traitor and murderer, who will only be remembered by the civilized world for the perfidy of his designs and the barbarity and the hellish spirit of his fiendish horde. - Still history must acknowledge him unparalleled in hardihood and perseverance."
Of course, history and the civilized world has acquitted Morgan from J.W.J's most heinous charges.
Compiled by members of the CW150 Committee of Warren's Sutliff Museum.