Meade and Lee at Bristoe Station: The Problems of Command and Strategy After Gettysburg, from Brandy Station to the Buckland Races, August 1 to October 31, 1863
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The Civil War in the Eastern Theater during the late summer and fall of 1863 was anything but inconsequential. Generals Meade and Lee continued where they had left off, executing daring marches while boldly maneuvering the chess pieces of war in an effort to gain decisive strategic and tactical advantage. Cavalry actions crisscrossed the rolling landscape; bloody battle revealed to both sides the command deficiencies left in the wake of Gettysburg. It was the first…

 Meade and Lee at Bristoe Station is an outstanding book that answers the question: what did Lee and Meade do when both armies were in Virginia after returning from Gettysburg? It will be remembered that Longstreet with two divisions was sent West to reinforce Bragg, leading to Chickamauga, and some may remember the Union countered by sending the XI and XII Corps to reinforce Rosecrans. This left two depleted armies facing each other in Northern Virginia. 

   Lee resolved to take advantage of the situation by trying to replicate the Second Manassas Campaign – and he was partially successful, driving Meade all the way back to Centerville. However, miscues by A. P. Hill and skill mixed with some luck on Meade’s part thwarted Lee’s designs, and by the end of October, 1863, the armies had returned to their previous locations. This book is the story of that campaign.

   The author has done a great job – excellent description with plenty of maps allow you to see exactly what both sides intended and how they executed those intentions. I highly recommend this book as an exposition of both the tactics employed and the campaign strategy (operational art to us Army guys). Great read!

 

Reviewed by John Scales