The stakes for George Gordon Meade could not have been higher.
After his stunning victory at Gettysburg in July of 1863, the Union commander spent the following months trying to bring the Army of Northern Virginia to battle once more and finish the job. The Confederate army, robbed of much of its offensive strength, nevertheless parried Meade’s moves time after time. Although the armies remained in constant contact during those long months of cavalry clashes, quick maneuvers, and sudden skirmishes, Lee continued to frustrate Meade’s efforts.
Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., Meade’s political enemies launched an all-out assault against his reputation and generalship. Even the very credibility of his victory at Gettysburg came under assault. Pressure mounted for the army commander to score a decisive victory and prove himself once more.
Smaller victories, like those at Bristoe Station and Rappahannock Station, did little to quell the growing clamorparticularly because out west, in Chattanooga, another Union general, Ulysses S. Grant, was once again reversing Federal misfortunes. Meade needed a comparable victory in the east.
And so, on Thanksgiving Day, 1863, the Army of the Potomac rumbled into motion once more, intent on trying again to bring about the great battle that would end the war.
The Great Battle Never Fought: The Mine Run Campaign, November 26-December 2 1863 recounts the final chapter of the forgotten fall of 1863when George Gordon Meade made one final attempt to save the Union and, in doing so, save himself.
About the Author
Chris Mackowski, Ph.D., is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of the online resource Emerging Civil War. A writing professor in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, NY, Chris is also historian-in-residence at Stevenson Ridge, a historic property on the Spotsylvania battlefield in central Virginia. The series editor of the award-winning Emerging Civil War Series, he has authored or co-authored a dozen books on the Civil War, and his articles have appeared in major Civil War magazines.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The Deep Game 1
Chapter 2 Rappahannock Station and Kelly's Ford 9
Chapter 3 Thanksgiving Day 19
Chapter 4 Into the Wilderness 29
Chapter 5 Robinson's Tavern 33
Chapter 6 New Hope Church 41
Chapter 7 The Road to Payne's Farm 47
Chapter 8 The Battle of Payne's Farm-Part I 51
Chapter 9 The Battle of Payne's Farm-Part II 57
Chapter 10 Along Mine Run 71
Chapter 11 Warren's March 81
Chapter 12 Expecting a Carnival of Death 89
Charter 13 The Moral Courage of George Gordon Meade 97
Chapter 14 Lee's Lost Opportunity 105
Afterword Theodore F Savas 125
Touring Mine Run 133
Appendix A Rest, Soldier, Rest by Mike Block 153
Appendix B "I Suppose the Result Will Be a Pretty General Sweeping Out": The Army of the Potomac's Reorganization by Ryan T. Quint 159
Order of Battle 164
Suggested Reading 174
About the Author 176
Footnotes for this volume are available at emergingcivilwar.com/publications/the emerging-civil-war-series/footnotes
Routes of March to the Battlefield, November 26-27, 1863 22
Battle of Payne's Farm-Initial Phase 52
Battle Of Payne's Farm-Second Phase 58
Positions Along Mine Run, November 28, 1863 82
Warren's Position, 90
Mine Run Tour 132
Civil War Battle of Payne's Farm Walking Trail Map by Steven Stanley, Courtesy American Battlefield trust 137