Mine Run 30 November 1863

Mine Run was an “almost battle” and it was probably a good thing. In late November 1863, Meade learned that Lee’s army, only about half the size of the Army of the Potomac about this time (Longstreet’s First Corps was still in the west), was not concentrated. The two remaining corps were separated by Clark’s Mountain and were now about thirty miles apart. Meade wanted to cross the Rapidan and pounce on Ewell’s Second Corps, then turn to destroy A. P. Hill’s Third Corps. Meade’s force started on 25 November, but soon the Army of the Potomac’s “slows” got the better of it. Lee was able to get Ewell’s command into defenses along Mine Run before Meade’s command was ready to attack. After meticulous preparation and reconnaissance, Meade ordered an attack on the Mine Run line on the morning of 30 November.

The 11th U.S. Infantry, along with the rest of the Fifth Army Corps, was located on the far right of the Union line. The approach to the Confederate lines here was wide open across a valley with no trees and little cover. The advance was going to be mostly uphill against a dug in trench line and breastworks. The situation these troops faced bode ill and high casualties were likely. The same was generally true across the front. Fortunately, Meade realized the unlikelihood that the assault would succeed at the last moment and cancelled the attack.