Chris Mackowski, a St. Bonaventure University professor and prolific Civil War author, has a new book out detailing a little-noted period in the late fall of 1863 in which an epic battle did not happen.
“The Great Battle Never Fought: The Mine Run Campaign, November 26-December 2, 1863” (Savas Beatie) details maneuverings — both military and political — in the fall after the titanic Battle of Gettysburg. Union Gen. George Gordon Meade attempted to engage Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, staggered by the defeat in Pennsylvania, in what could have been a climactic battle back in Virginia.
The Confederate army, sapped of much of its offensive strength, nevertheless parried Meade’s moves time after time. Although the armies remained in constant contact during those long months of cavalry clashes, quick maneuvers and sudden skirmishes, Lee continued to frustrate Meade’s efforts.