This Week In Quartermaster History
the fall of 1863 after the Battle of Gettysburg, the Federal army moved
back into Virginia, establishing headquarters in Culpepper. Soon Leeís
Confederates were on the march again, threatening Washington.
On October 10th and 11th Confederates advanced across the Rapidan to cut the Union armyís lines to the capital. While the rest of the army fell back toward Washington, over 4,000 six-mule wagons filled with forage, clothing, equipment and food for the army were put under the command of LTC Richard N. Batchelder, Chief Quartermaster for the Second Corps.
Over dirt roads and wilderness hills, the vulnerable caravan plodded on, day and night, from13-15 October. The army could afford no escort, so Batchelder armed his teamsters. The fierce Confederate raider John Mosby and his partisan rangers struck frequently and violently, but LTC Batchelder personally commanded his men in fighting them off, thus saving the Army of the Potomacís vital supplies.
For his valor LTC Batchelder was awarded the Medal of Honor, and the event itself was preserved in the painting Lifeline to Victory by renowned Civil War artist Don Stivers.
Compiled by the
U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps Historian
Fort Lee, Virginia