Kelly’s Ford ends lull
Save for the Union’s aborted Mud March, the winter of 1863 saw Confederate and federal forces idle in their camps until roads became passable and the frigid weather abated.
Then fighting at the battle of Kelly’s Ford in Virginia broke out on March 17, 1863, ending the monotony of winter camp for both sides.
For the first time, Union forces were able to mass a formidable cavalry force for an attack. All told, 2,100 troopers in the Union cavalry division moved on Confederate positions, aiming to do battle near Culpeper, not far from the ford.
The bitter combat raged until Confederate cavalry troops successfully counterattacked, prompting Union forces to withdraw by mid-afternoon of March 17. The outcome appeared inconclusive.