The history of the third day
of the Battle of Gettysburg
(July 3, 1863) has focused on the disastrous infantry assault nicknamed Pickett's Charge
. During and after that charge, however, two significant cavalry battles
also occurred: one approximately three miles (5 km) to the east, in the area known today as East Cavalry Field, the other southwest of the Round Top
mountain (sometimes called South Cavalry Field).
The East Cavalry Field fighting was an attempt by Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart
cavalry to get into the Federal rear and exploit any success that Pickett's Charge may have generated. Union
cavalry under Brig. Gens. David McM. Gregg
and George Armstrong Custer
repulsed the Confederate advances.
In South Cavalry Field, after Pickett's Charge had been defeated, reckless cavalry charges against the right flank of the Confederate Army, ordered by Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick
, were easily repulsed, resulting in the death of Brig. Gen. Elon J. Farnsworth
Background and cavalry forces
Cavalry forces played a significant role at Gettysburg only on the first and third days of the battle. On the first day (July 1, 1863), the Union cavalry division of Brig. Gen. John Buford
successfully delayed the Confederate infantry forces under Maj. Gen. Henry Heth
until Union infantry could arrive on the battlefield. By the end of the day, Buford's troopers had retired from the field.
On the Confederate side,... Read More