Mount Vernon News

By Mount Vernon News
June 20, 2013 11:18 am EDT


The June 20, 1863, issue of the Democratic Banner contained a column of the reports and rumors coming out of Pennsylvania that Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia had invaded the north again.


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“During the last few days,” the paper reported, “we have received the most startling intelligence from Pennsylvania; but the dispatches are so confusing and contradictory that it is next to impossible to separate the facts from the rumors. Enough is known, however, to settle the fact beyond all dispute that Lee’s entire army has crossed the Rappahannock, and a portion of it has moved north, through Maryland into Pennsylvania.

“We have had rumors of a battle progressing at Bull Run, but they are not corroborated.”

Actually, there had been a battle June 9 southwest of Bull Run at a place called Brandy Station. It was the largest cavalry battle of the war and, although inconclusive, showed that the Union cavalry in the east could now face off against the Confederate cavalry on equal terms.

The battle is also considered the opening of the Gettysburg campaign.

Some of the reports were essentially accurate: Gen. Milroy had been badly defeated in a fight at Winchester, Va., losing 2,000 men in killed, wounded and captured, along with most of his stores and artillery.

Harper’s Ferry had been evacuated.

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