GDG- Custer, Merritt, & Farnsworth

Tom Ryan pennmardel at
Wed Jan 25 18:55:43 CST 2012

<<Finally, "the Cav mtn campaigns before Gtysbg." might be referring to
the Union Cavalry's attempted probes into the Blue Ridge Mountain passes to
see what the ANV was doing in the Shenandoah Valley.>>


That five-day series of battles was another in a long list of Pleasonton's
failures to do the job assigned, and, in this case, lost over 800 men to

I discussed this in a Gettysburg Magazine article some time ago, pointing
out that P.'s orders were to look into the Valley and determine whether the
ANV was marching down toward the Potomac.

Instead of employing small scouting teams to bypass the major roads and ride
up the Blue Ridge for a look see into the Valley, P. chose to attempt to
fight his way through Stuart's defensive alignment -- which failed.

P. had a Mosby's Rangers-like org in the Loudoun Rangers available to scout
this familiar territory.  Likely for them, it would have been a piece of
cake to spot Lee's army in the Valley.

Since P. never wanted to share credit with anyone, he ignored this
contingent, and, instead, made a mess out of the effort.

It is instructive to note, that, after P. declared victory and withdrew from
contact with the ANV without gaining the desired info, Hooker patronizingly
sent a message describing how a viable reconnoiter should be conducted.  By
then, however, it was too late.

Regards, Tom

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