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messages during the day. The order issued to the Army of the Potomac, Wednesday night--after the crossing of that Army had been effected, and when Burnside was on the way — directed it to move forward in parallel lines, Hancock's corps to the vicinity of Shady Grove Church, the Fifth and Sixth corps along the Germania plank-road to Old Wilderness Tavern and beyond. The Fifth and Second corps were, to connect as soon as possible, throw out strong reconnoissances toward Catharpen run, Todd's Tavern, and on the Orange Court-house road; the Sixth corps to preserve a flank communication with the river, where the trains and herds were still crossing, and the whole afterward to hold itself in readiness to move forward. It would seem that this disposition of the Army was intended to be preserved until the trains could cross the river, when all should move on, avoiding a battle in the Wilderness to the right. The hope was futile. The enemy's movement began Wednesday night, and on the
Rebellion Record: a Diary of American Events: Documents and Narratives, Volume 11. (ed. Frank Moore), Doc. 59. battles of Spottsylvania, Va: battle of Sunday, May 8, 1864. (search)
wn to the enemy, got into a position — entirely disconnected with the left of the Sixth corps--which flanked the enemy's right, and which might have been used with victorious and overwhelming effect in subsequent engagements. On the contrary, I have been told that had the enemy been informed of the exact position in which that command stood relative to the rest of our army, it would have been in great danger of being cut off. The right of our line, then, commanded the Brock road near Todd's Tavern, the centre faced Spottsylvania Court-house, the left was disposed across the road leading from Spottsylvania Court-house to Fredericksburg, to which latter place our wounded had been sent. A reconnoissance on the left in the morning developed no strong force of the enemy in that direction. General Mott's brigade of Carr's division, Second corps, was detached from the right and sent out on the left of the Sixth corps (now commanded by General Wright) to take and hold a strong position
night and day in the performance of their painful duty. Among those who were most active were Surgeons Phillips, Rezner, Hackley, Hotchkiss, Tutt, and Surgeon McGill, Medical Director of the corps. Nothing was left undone to alleviate the suffering of our wounded officers and soldiers. The loss of the enemy is at least twice as great as ours, as we had a preponderance of artillery, and as they were, most of the time, the attacking party. The ground over which we drove them, both at Todd's Tavern and within the fortifications around Richmond, was literally covered with their dead and wounded. Their loss in officers was disproportionately large. The results accomplished by General Sheridan, by his splendid raid, are of the greatest importance and magnitude. It will, doubtless, compel Lee's army to fall back upon Richmond, which is an event wholly unlooked for by the Southern people, and for which they are totally unprepared. Both railroads have been destroyed in such a thoro