Kilpatrick’s Deficiency in Judgment


Judson Kilpatrick

Theodore Lyman, Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade’s aide-de-camp, offered an interesting observation about part of the Federal cavalry on this date in 1863. The Army of the Potomac was cautiously advancing out of its protected position in Centreville, Virginia, where Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia had chased it during the Bristoe Campaign. Federal cavalry under Judson Kilpatrick screened the advance.

“This afternoon,” Lyman wrote, “Kilpatrick ran into a horses’ nest of cavalry, near Buckland Mills in the front, and came near getting used up, but escaped with a loss of 100 or 200 men. He is a brave, vigorous man, but apparently deficient in judgment, a fault in which his two Brigadiers, Davies & Custer do not much help him.”

Lyman’s diary, by the way—Meade’s Army: The Private Notebooks of Lt. Col. Theodore Lyman, edited by David Lowe—makes excellent reading.

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