Small But Important Riots: The Cavalry Battles of Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville. Robert F. O’Neill. January 2023: Potomac Books, 360 pages.

This book provides a definitive account of five days of fighting in the Loudoun Valley during the Gettysburg campaign. O’Neill’s master work not only covers a multitude of engagements, but is able to link them all together coherently while maintaining each in its own context. His analysis includes the larger tactical picture and the intent of the commanders on both sides. The work not only examines the moves of Stuart, Pleasonton and Hooker, but the reasoning behind them that led to the engagements happening where and when they did. In Pleasonton’s case in particular, there are keen insights into why he employed his cavalry corps the way he did.

Small But Important Riots is so exhaustively researched that in some places I spent nearly as much time examining the notes as I did reading the text. The author weaves hundreds of personal accounts from soldiers on both sides together to compose his narrative, many of them previously unpublished.

The plentiful use of Julie Krick’s excellent maps makes it easy for the reader to follow and understand the numerous engagements spread over a large area. The appendices provide additional details concerning order of battle and unit losses. His final appendix on horses and ordnance is so well organized that it could be expanded into a book of its own.

This book should be on the shelf of anyone interested in Civil War cavalry or the Gettysburg campaign.