In the vanguard of Lee’s advance toward the North, Jeb Stuart and eight thousand of his cavalry at Brandy Station, Virginia entertained themselves for several days, holding grand reviews for General Lee, John Bell Hood’s Texas division, and the local citizenry, before engaging Union cavalry on Tuesday, June 9, 1863.
Joseph Hooker ordered Union cavalry under Alfred Pleasonton to cross the Rappahannock, reconnoiter, and ascertain Lee’s intentions. In the greatest cavalry battle fought to date on American soil, for well in excess of ten hours Union cavalry repeatedly charged Stuart’s position at Brandy Station.
At the end of the day Stuart held the field, but the underrated Union cavalry had adequately represented itself while gaining valuable intelligence for Hooker. Confederate casualties totaled 523, with Pleasonton’s cavalry suffering 866 casualties.