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"Stuart's Chambersburg Raid" Topic


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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP15 Oct 2020 9:35 p.m. PST

"Stuart's Chambersburg Raid, October 9 – 12, 1862 was one of the final nails in the coffin for the military career of Major General George Brinton McClellan. McClellan's Army of the Potomac was still a capable fighting force despite heavy casualties at Antietam. Conversely, Lee needed time to re–build his army. To secure this time he had to isolate the Federal army by cutting as many of its supply routes as possible. Lee issued orders to Major General J. E. B. Stuart to go into Maryland and Pennsylvania to disrupt the Cumberland Valley Railroad at Chambersburg and destroy the railroad bridge near there. Following the Battle of Antietam, that railroad had become an important supply line for McClellan's army. With its terminus at nearby Hagerstown, Maryland, it was the nearest functional rail line to McClellan. Stuart's 1,800 man raiding force passed through Maryland and entered Pennsylvania on the morning of October 9 and began taking prisoners and pillaging homes and businesses, sometimes "paying" with Confederate scrip, often just taking goods and horses. Entering Chambersburg that evening the raiders accepted the surrender of the town. For the next day the Confederates destroyed the railroad and affiliated buildings such as machine shops and the roundhouse. Warehouses were also torched after the Confederates took whatever they wanted from them. With Union forces closing in on them the Confederates took a roundabout route and after some clashes crossed the Potomac back to Virginia. Stuart's Chambersburg Raid had been a morale booster for the South and a national disgrace for the Lincoln government. Stuart's task force had traveled more than 130 miles in three days. During that time they had captured livestock and hostages and destroyed parts of the Cumberland Valley Railroad. However, the raid was something of a Pyrrhic victory for the Confederates. Much good horse flesh was worn out on the raid. Conversely, many of the horses that Stuart took from the Pennsylvania farms were large draft animals unsuited for cavalry use. The raid did constitute a blow to northern moral and was an embarrassment to the Union high command. It would be one of the final straws contributing to Lincoln's dismissal of General George B. McClellan a few weeks later…"
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