previous next


Bloody angle.

McCool's house, within the “Bloody angle.” The photographs were taken in 1864, shortly after the struggle of Spotsylvania Court House, and show the old dwelling as it was on May 12th, when the fighting was at flood tide all round it; and below, the Confederate entrenchments near that blood-drenched spot. At a point in these Confederate lines in advance of the McCool house, the entrenchments had been thrown forward like the salient of a fort, and the wedge-shaped space within them was destined to become renowned as the “Bloody angle.” The position was defended by the famous “Stonewall Division” of the Confederates under command of General Edward Johnson. It was near the scene of Upton's gallant charge on the 10th. Here at daybreak on May 12th the divisions of the intrepid Barlow and Birney, sent forward by Hancock, stole a march upon the unsuspecting Confederates. Leaping over the breastworks the Federals were upon them and the first of the terrific hand-to-hand conflicts that marked the day began. It ended in victory for Hancock's men, into whose hands fell 20 cannon, 30 standards and 4,000 prisoners, “the best division in the Confederate army.” Flushed with success, the Federals pressed on to Lee's second line of works, where Wilcox's division of the Confederates held them until reenforcements sent by Lee from Hill and Anderson drove them back. On the Federal side the Sixth Corps, with Upton's brigade in the advance, was hurried forward to hold the advantage gained. But Lee himself was on the scene, and the men of the gallant Gordon's division, pausing long enough to seize and turn his horse, with shouts of “General Lee in the rear,” hurtled forward into the conflict. In five separate charges by the Confederates the fighting came to close quarters. With bayonets, clubbed muskets, swords and pistols, men fought within two feet of one another on either side of the entrenchments at “Bloody angle” till night at last left it in possession of the Federals. None of the fighting near Spotsylvania Court House was inglorious. On the 10th, after a day of strengthening positions on both sides, young Colonel Emory Upton of the 121st New York, led a storming party of twelve regiments into the strongest of the Confederate entrenchments. For his bravery Grant made him a brigadier-general on the field.

The apex of the battlefield: McCool's house, within the “bloody angle.”

Confederate entrenchments near “bloody angle”


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)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Fitzhugh Lee (8)
Emory Upton (6)
Hancock (4)
Wilcox (2)
Edward Johnson (2)
A. P. Hill (2)
Ulysses S. Grant (2)
R. H. Anderson (2)
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 12th (4)
10th (4)
1864 AD (2)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: