Described by John Esten Cooke, of JEB Stuart’s staff, as “one of the liveliest episodes of the late war” the Bristoe Campaign was a small and seemingly unimportant event sandwiched between the battle at Gettysburg and the Wilderness bloodbath. Bristoe receives scant attention from historians, despite being an attempt by Lee, to seize the strategic initiative. Marking the decline in Confederate leadership, Lee’s inability to compensate, and the growing Union confidence and capability. The campaign outcome was significant; being the turning point of the war as Lee was now on the defensive and the Union forces held the initiative.
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