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III. the Wilderness and Spotsylvania

[on the night of May 3, the Army of the Potomac started across the Rapidan into the Wilderness. Lee did not molest them, for, knowing every inch of that difficult country, he expected to trap them when the Union Army got into the woods.

Lyman's letters for the first ten days are short, hasty notes from the front. By the middle of the month he finds time to write a detailed account of events in the lulls between the battles about Spotsylvania Court House, where Grant, finding he could not force his way through the Wilderness, had manoeuvred the army by a flank movement to the left.]

Headquarters Army of Potomac 10 P. M. Sunday, May 15, 1864
Well, to be more or less under fire, for six days out of seven, is not very good for the nerves, or very pleasant. But now that there is a quiet day, I thought I would make a beginning of describing to you the sad, bloody work we have been at. I will write enough to make a letter and so go on in future letters, only writing what can now be of no importance to the enemy. The morning of Wednesday the 4th of May (or rather the night, for we were up by starlight) was clear and warm. By daylight we had our breakfast, and all was in a hurry with breaking up our winter camp. To think of it to-night makes it seem a half-year ago; but it is only eleven days. About 5.30 A. M. we turned our backs on what had been our little village for six months.

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