previous next
[568] infantry under Hill against Warren, and under Ewell against Sedgwick: the former driving in the 5th N. Y. cavalry with loss, and striking Warren heavily and full in front, long before he had reached Parker's store, and before Hancock had orders to arrest his southward march and, facing westward, swing in on Warren's left. In short, the battle commenced before our army was in position, and while our Generals still supposed that there was no considerable Rebel force at hand — as Lee evidently intended to have it. And Hill, having, by an early advance, secured a strong and sheltered position on a ridge crossing the road, repelled with loss the brigades of Bartlett and Ayres, of Griffin's division, that were first sent up against him; not pressing far his advantage until about 3 P. M.; when, perceiving the approach of Hancock, he attempted the favorite Rebel maneuver of interposing a strong force between our usually loosely joined commands, but was checked by Hancock's arresting his direct advance and pushing rapidly to the right, to close on Warren. This was effected, not a moment too soon; the enemy's charging column being already on Warren's left flank; but Hancock, with his division Generals, Birney, Barlow, and Gibbon, struck heavily on their right, and two hours stubborn and bloody conflict, with musketry alone, resulted in great loss to both sides, and little advantage to either: Hancock's corps, which had, ere this, been strengthened by Getty's division of Sedgwick's, saving itself from rout by the most obstinate fighting.

Sedgwick had been attacked a little after 1 P. M.; but Ewell was not at first in so great force as Hill was; and the advantage here was on our side: the enemy being obliged, at 3 1/2 P. M., to give ground, after a most determined effort: Maj.-Gen. J. M. Jones and Brig.-Gen. Stafford having been killed. Rhodes's division, led by Gordon, next charged vigorously, and pushed back our advance with loss, taking some prisoners. In a return charge from our side, Gen. Pegram fell severely wounded. Hereupon a general advance on our side was ordered, but arrested by the coming of night. The Rebels claimed 1,000 prisoners to our 300 as the net product of the day's work; otherwise, the losses were nearly equal.

Grant had decided to open next morning1 by an advance along our whole front; Burnside's corps having arrived during the night by a forced march, and been distributed to the points where it seemed to be most needed. Sedgwick was ordered to move at 5 A. M.; but the enemy were upon him a quarter before; attempting to turn our right flank, which was held by Gen. Wright's division, with Gen. Seymour's provisional division still nearer the Rapidan. This attack, twice repeated during the forenoon, but not resolutely (being a feint to mask the real attack on Hancock), was repulsed, and our line advanced a few hundred yards to a more favorable position.

At 8 A. M., our whole front was assailed, and again two hours later, as if the enemy were feeling for a weak point. Then, efforts were made, as before, to push in between our several corps and their divisions; and at length to strike with crushing force

1 Friday, May 6.

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)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 6th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: