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Wikepedia at: Battle_of_the_Wilderness
The Battle of the Wilderness, fought May 5–7, 1864, was the
first battle of
Ulysses S. Grant's 1864 Virginia
Robert E. Lee
Army of Northern Virginia. Both armies suffered heavy
casualties, a harbinger of a bloody
war of attrition
by Grant against Lee's army and, eventually, the Confederate
Virginia. The battle was
inconclusive, as Grant disengaged and continued his offensive.
Grant attempted to move quickly through the dense underbrush
of the Wilderness of Spotsylvania, but Lee launched two of his corps
on parallel roads to intercept him. On the morning of May 5, the
Union V Corps
under Maj. Gen.
Warren attacked the Confederate
commanded by Lt. Gen.
Richard S. Ewell,
on the Orange Turnpike. That afternoon the
commanded by Lt. Gen.
W. Getty's division (VI
Corps) and Maj. Gen.
II Corps on the Orange Plank Road. Fighting until dark was
fierce but inconclusive as both sides attempted to maneuver in the
At dawn on May 6, Hancock attacked along the Plank Road,
driving Hill's Corps back in confusion, but the
of Lt. Gen. James
Longstreet arrived in time to prevent the collapse of the
Confederate right flank. Longstreet followed up with a surprise
flanking attack from an unfinished railroad bed that drove Hancock's
men back to the Brock Road, but the momentum was lost when
Longstreet was wounded by his own men. An evening attack by Brig.
Gen. John B.
Gordon against the Union right flank caused consternation at
Union headquarters, but the lines stabilized and fighting ceased. On
May 7, Grant disengaged and moved to the southeast, intending to
leave the Wilderness to interpose his army between Lee and Richmond,
leading to the bloody
Spotsylvania Court House.
Wikepedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Wilderness
Battle of the Wilderness
by Kurz and Allison.
||May 5–7, 1864
||Inconclusive (Union offensive
Commanders and leaders
Ulysses S. Grant
George G. Meade
Robert E. Lee
Army of the Potomac,
Army of Northern Virginia
Casualties and losses
A leaf from S. B. Cummins Diary 1864
Campayne of the 151st N.Y.V.
Through the Wilderness in VA.
Army of the Potomac
Commencing May 4th 1864
We were in winter quarters near Brandy Station, VA. Our
Bugler sounded the revilee and long role which caused a
comotion in camp knowing full well the time had arrived
for the Army of the Potomac to start on the summer
campaign. We arose at 4 oclock, struck tents, packed
our knapsacks, got our breakfast and fell into line. At
6 oclock in the morning we started south crossing the
Rapidan river on a pontoon bridge. Marching all day.
We encamped for the night in a pine woods. Marching
about 15 miles. Was very tired & foot sore.
May the 5th
Arose at daybreak, got our breakfast and fell into line,
then resumed our march southward. Saw Gen. Grant for
the first time. Marching very slow. Very warm.
Fighting commenced at 11 oclock A.M. and continued all
day untill after dark. Saw Gen. Burnside. He is here
with 6,000 men. We captured 500 men to day. The picket
firing lasted all night. Slept on the ground with my
knapsack for a pillow and the canopy of heaven for a
In the Wilderness, May 6th 1864
The fighting commenced at daylight. The canons roared
like thunder. Several charges were made but very little
was accomplished on either side. Capt Billings of my
own company, & Nicholas Beck, by old bunk mate were both
killed by the same shell, and several more comrades
belonging to Co F of our Regt. were killed & wounded.
The Provose Guard were deployed as skirmishers in the
rear of line of battle to take charge of the prisioners
if any taken & to hold the straglers in check. Our
lines were broken. The Rebels made a grand charge on
the first Division of the Old 6th Corps & after a hard
struggle our line was broken & driven back but the
Provost Guard fixed bayonets & stoped every man. Our
line was soon formed again and at dark the Old 6th Corps
charged on the Rebels and drove them out of the breast
works they had taken from us before l0 o'clock in the
May the 7th 1864
Arose at daylight, we had our breakfast about half
cooked when the battle commenced. The rebels came out
of the woods in 4 lines of battle, then Our artilery
opened on them with Grape & Canister causing them to
retreat in confusion & were glad to get out of sight.
Very heavy fighting down the left of the line near
Chancelorsville. It was reported we had captured
between 4 & 5000 prizoners today. Heared good news
about dark and Great Cheering prevailed the whol length
of the line. We recd orders to be ready to move at
dark. We marched 3 or 4 miles and halted untill 2 O
clock in the morning by the side of the road. We slept
with our knapsacks on our backs. Was aroused from our
slumbers by a pack of mules running away. We sprung to
our feet, grabbed our muskets & got ready for action.
We considered it an attack from the rebels. In a
moments time we were all quiet and down we laid until
May the 8th
Arose at daylight and marched about 8 miles very fast.
Very warm today. We passed our ambulances loaded with
our wounded comrades & saw lots of men laying by the
road side that were wounded. Some with a leg off, some
with an arm off, some a hand, some a foot. I tell you
it was a hard sight to behold. We passed through
Chancelersville and also through a dense pine forest.
We saw lots of dead & wounded all along the roadside.
Canonading in the morning but not much fighting today
but at dark we made a charge on the Rebel Breastworks
and drove them from their position. We cut them down
dreadfully. The ground was covered with the dead and
dieing. They laid like sheaves of wheat in a harvest
field. Our men slept in the Breastworks & rifle pits
they had captured.
May 9th 1864
Arose at daylight ate breakfast and got ready to march.
Not much fighting today. A little canonading &
skirmishing. Gen. Sedgwick our Corps Commander was
killed near our Regiment by Rebel sharp shooters. Some
of the boys would dodge when the balls passed their
heads & the General said: "boys don't dodge. They could
not hit an elephant." And in less than 5 minutes he was
hit and soon died on the field. Gen. Morris of our
brigade was wounded about the same time in the leg. The
rebel sharp shooters were soon discovered up in a tree,
9 of them, when the officer in command called for a
piece of artilery from the rifle batery and opened on
them and the first shot cut the tree off about 40 feet
from the ground & down came Mr. sharp shooter head
first. That ended the sharp shooting at this time. It
was very warm today. Some of the men were sun struck.
The sick & wounded are being sent to Fredericksburg in
ambulances and general wagons. Had a brisk fight at
dark of musketry & artilery.
May 10th 1864
All was quiet at daylight, except now & then a random
shot was fired. Heavy skirmishing commenced at 6 Oclock
A.M. This has been the hardest days fighting that has
been done. Have fought al1 day and hard at it yet.
Reported that Gen Butler had taken Petersburg & was
advancing on Richmond. We see hundreds of wounded by
the sides of the road and the wounded in the ambulances
are screeching as they are moved off the field. But we
don't mind it. We are so tired & worn out by marching &
fighting & being without sleep. We don't care for any
one but ourselves. We don't realize the horrors of
war. Our men made a charge at dark & captured about
l000 rebels. So ended this days fighting.
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