November 7 This day during the American Civil War

November 7, 1863 – in Kelly’s Ford, Virginia – Following the engagement at Bristoe Station on October 14th, Gen. Robert E. Lee removed his army south of the Rappahannock River, on the assumption that Maj. Gen. George G. Meade might renew the offensive, even in a limited fashion. Meade proposed to retake the area between the Rappahannock and rapidian Rivers, the Lincoln administration having vetoed a general movement toward Fredericksburg. Lee fortified the major crossings of the Rappahannock, especially at Rappahannock Station and at Kelly’s Ford a few miles below. At the latter crossing, he would allow Meade to cross, then attack the Union troops in force while holding the main crossing upstream.On November 7th, the Union left wing, commanded by Maj. Gen. William H. French, crossed at Kelly’s Ford, seized some 300 prisoners, and established a strong lodgement on the south bank. Lee was not at first concerned since he expected to hit hard in a counterattack. However, his plans were thwarted by the success of the Union right, a contingency he had not expected.

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