The Calm Before the Storm: The Week Prior to Gettysburg

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Posted by Capt Browne on Friday 21 June 2013

The Calm Before the Storm: The Week Prior to Gettysburg

June 23-30 1863 Following the fight at Upperville, the 22nd MVI returned to camp in Aldie and encountering only a lone chicken on the route, which was "converted into rations" by means of a fast-acting private soldier and his little hatchet, despite standing orders strongly against foraging. Once back in Aldie (Map Location A), the lads endured "...a fearful storm flooded the camp and drenched [them] thoroughly" (Parker 327). The next week was one of long, hard marches to the north. During the day on the 24th of June, the 22nd MVI and brigade participated in a rare brigade drill whilst in the field and on campaign-- this little bit of training was their final respite, as it were. On the next day, the 25th of June, the 22nd MVI detached from the brigade and sent with the baggage train for the corps to entrain at Fairfax Station (Map Location B), where the moved over rail to link up with the rest of the Army of the Potomac that had continued north in pursuit of Lee. At Fairfax, the lads of the regiment heard a shelling of the town by rebels just as they were leaving, taking a few casualties in the process. On the 26th of June, the unit encamped near Dranesville (Map Location C), then moved to Edwards Ferry on the 27th (Map Location D) where they waited for Sixth Corps' and their own baggage trains to cross, before moving across themselves to camp at Bennett's Creek. While en route to the ferry, Parker notes that the unit enjoyed picking some cherries which were now in season and ripe (328). At this point, the 22nd MVI was now back on Union soil (however questionable in loyalty) in Maryland. From Bennett's Creek the lads passed through Poolesville, Barnesville, and Buckeyetown en route to Fredrick (Map Location E). It was in this vicinity on the 28th of June that the regiment learned of the removal of Joe Hooker from command of the Army, and the promotion of General George Meade to command. Parker notes that the army narrowly missed a grand review by the commanding general, due to the urging of General Butterfield-- owing to the closeness and hazards of Lee's army being close at hand and on the march. On the 29th and 30th, the 22nd MVI men moved to the north and east, reaching Union Mills (Map Location F) in the afternoon of the 30th, and bivouacking on the green near the town. Gettysburg was just a short march across the Maryland/Pennsylvania border... Sources: Carter, Robert Goldthwaite. Four Brothers in Blue. Second Printing. Austin and London: University of Texas Press, 1978. Print. Parker, John Lord. Henry Wilson's Regiment: History of the Twenty-Second Massachusetts Infantry. Reprint. Baltimore MD: Butternut and Blue, 1996. Print. Note: Map routes are estimates. Actual historical routes may have varied


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