On June 9, 1863, the largest cavalry battle of the Civil War was fought at Brandy Station, Virginia. Union troopers caught Gen. Jeb Stuart’s Confederate cavalry by surprise at dawn, beginning a day-long battle. Whereas cavalry usually fought dismounted, the battle at Brandy Station moved so quickly that the men remained mounted, attacking and counter-attacking in grand, mounted cavalry charges.
Although the Confederates held their ground and therefore won, the battle became more important for another reason. After two years of fighting, the Union cavalry finally proved they were the equals of the Southern horsemen. In less than a month, these cavalrymen would need their new-found confidence as they moved north to Gettysburg.