previous next
[493] brigades should be sent. A third brigade (Thomas', of Wilcox's Division) was ordered on the left of the road to take position on the left of Heth, and fought in line nearly parallel to the road. The enemy were in the rear of the left of Heth. Thomas did not get into position on his left. The fourth and last brigade of Wilcox's (Lane's) went in on the right of the road and extreme right of the line, the musketry now raging furiously on the entire front. Wilcox rode forward down the road, found that McGowan's Brigade had swept like a gale through the woods, driving back all before it, and was much in advance of our lines, both on the right and left. It was deemed prudent to recall it to the main line. The firing, and of the severest kind, continued till after dark, and then slackened till eight, and soon after died out. The two divisions had held their ground, and captured a few prisoners. No artillery was used on this road by the Confederates; two pieces, believed to have been used by the Federals, were passed over in the road by McGowan's Brigade.

On the plank road Heth's and Wilcox's divisions, eight brigades, about thirteen thousand muskets, fought. Of these eight brigades, four were from North Carolina, one from South Carolina, one from Georgia and Mississippi each, one made up of Virginia and Tennessee troops. Contending against these on the Union side were, first, Getty's Division, Sixth Corps, soon reinforced by Birney's and Mott's Divisions, of the Second Corps; next, and before five P. M., Carroll's and Owen's Brigades, of Gibbon's Division, Second Corps; following these were two brigades of Barlow's Division, Second Corps; late in the afternoon Wadsworth's Division and Baxter's Brigade, of Robinson's Division, Fifth Corps. The statement made as to Federal troops engaged on the two roads, and throughout the two days collision, is taken mostly from Swinton's “History of the army of the Potomac.” General Lee's infantry was composed of nine divisions; one (Pickett's) was absent below Richmond, and not included in the estimate of forty-two thousand for the infantry. This would give an average, therefore, of five thousand two hundred and fifty to each one of the eight divisions with General Lee. Wilcox's and Heth's were in excess of this average, the division of the former having seven thousand two hundred muskets present. In Ewell's Corps were two of the weakest divisions, Early's and Johnson's. Rodes' Division of this corps was the strongest in the army; but one brigade of this, Johnson's, was absent in North Carolina. Hoke's Brigade, of Early's Division, was also absent at Hanover Junction. Three of the eight divisions of infantry were absent on the 5th-Anderson's, of Hill's Corps, and two of Longstreet's.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
C. M. Wilcox (5)
Heth (4)
George H. Thomas (2)
McGowan (2)
Fitz Lee (2)
Edward Johnson (2)
Jubal A. Early (2)
William Swinton (1)
Rodes (1)
A. C. Robinson (1)
George E. Pickett (1)
Owen (1)
Mott (1)
James Longstreet (1)
Lane (1)
Hoke (1)
A. P. Hill (1)
James Gibbon (1)
Getty (1)
Ewell (1)
Carroll (1)
Birney (1)
Barlow (1)
R. H. Anderson (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: