Monday, October 14, 2013
No great battles had been fought in the eastern theater of the Civil War after Lee's defeat at the Battle of Gettysburg. Meade had failed to aggressively pursue the Confederates, and he received much criticism for this from Washington. Back in Virginia, both army commanders began trying to maneuver the other into a position where they could fight to advance. Lee was down to two corps after the detachment of Longstreet to fight with Bragg at Chicakamuga, Meade pushed his troops forward, preparing to cross the Rapidan and strike the Confederate positions, but he lost two corps, sent to aid in defending Chattanooga.
When Lee heard of this movement, he saw it as a great opportunity to strike. He began moving around Meade's right flank with his troops. Meade saw that the position was disadvantageous to the Federals, so he decided to fall back, even though he had the superior numbers. He began moving north 150 years ago today. The maneuvering and fighting in Virginia would continue into November, both sides looking for an opportunity to strike.