Gettysburg Live 150 – 2:15pm – East Cavalry Field

When J.E.B. Stuart fired off those cannons to signal Lee, the alarm was instantly raised.

Brig. General David McMurtrie Gregg brought his men – two brigades under the command of Col. John McIntosh, and newly-appointed Brig. General George A. Custer – up the Low Dutch Road to meet the threat to the Union rear. By this time 150 years ago, they were in position to do something.

It began with an artillery duel. The well-trained Union gunners were able to overpower Stuart’s horse artillery. J.E.B. would need another trick to get past them.

He decided on a flanking movement, but he was blocked by troopers from the 5th Michigan Cavalry. Just as he had them breaking, the 7th Michigan counter-attacked, personally led by General Custer himself.

Fighting would swirl around these fields for less than an hour. Charge and counter-charge happened again, and again General Custer and his Michigan boys made the difference.

The struggle came to a head when Col. McIntosh’s brigade was able to flank the Confederates, wounding Confederate¬†Brig. General Wade Hampton in the process. In mass confusion, and nearly surrounded, the Rebel horsemen had no choice but to retreat.

While relatively light on casualties for both sides, this little-mentioned action represented another step up for the Union cavalry, and another missed opportunity for J.E.B. Stuart and the Confederates. The tides were slowly turning.

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