The Battle of Middleburg
—Gettysburg Campaign —
After Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's stunning victory at Chancellorsville in May 1863, he led the Army of Northern Virginia west to the Shenandoah Valley, then north through central Maryland and across the Mason-Dixon Line into Pennsylvania. Union Gen. George G. Meade, who replaced Gen. Joseph Hooker on June 28, led the Army of the Potomac in pursuit. Confederate cavalry commander Gen. J.E.B. Stuart cut Federal communications and rail lines an captured supplies. The armies collided at Gettysburg on July 1, starting a battle that neither general planned to fight there. Three days later, the defeated Confederates retreated, crossing the Potomac River into Virginia on July 14th.
The three buildings in front of you—a blacksmith shop that was used as a rendezvous for Col. John S. Mosby's rangers, the smith's house to your right, and a tavern to the left—were standing here on the Ashby's Gap Turnpike during the cavalry battle on June 19, 1863.
Two days after the fight at Aldie, the troopers clashed again here as Confederate Gen. J.E.B> Stuart continued to screen Gen. Robert E. Lee's march north from probing Union cavalry. Two Confederate artillery batteries were posted where you are standing and aimed east toward the Federals. After an artillery duel in
the morning, Union Gen. David McMurtrie Gregg advanced two Union brigades across open fields to your right, meeting determined resistance. Then they reached the woods on the ridge in front of you, where Stuart had deployed Gen. John R. Chambliss's brigade north of the turnpike and Gen. Beverly H. Robertson's brigade here and to the south. The mounted and dismounted Federals fought their way southward through the woods, driving the Confederates "from tree to tree" to this point, where fighting swirled around the blacksmith's shop. Stuart withdrew his artillery, and Chambliss formed a new line across the turnpike 500 yards to your left. His line held while the other Confederate retreated west to the high ground around Bittersweet Farm. The Federals halted, exhausted by the torrid heat and fighting. Stuart had again accomplished his goal by blocking the Union Cavalry's westward probes.
Johann August Heinrich Heros von Brocke, a Prussion Army lieutenant who came to America to fight for the Confederacy, was a good friend and aide-de-camp to Gen. J.E.B. Stuart. South of here, during the Battle of Middleburg, the 6-foot-4-inch von Borcke was shot in the neck and seriously wounded. he recuperated in Upperville. Stuart wrote of him; "Like a mast after a storm with its sails torn, and drooping, he drags along, a wreck of the noblest manhood. His heart however
unchanged." Von Borcke died in Prussia in 1895 of complications from his war wounds.