‘The Federals (Webb's Brigade of Hancock's Corps) were advancing through the pines with apparently resistless force, when Gregg's eight hundred Texans, regardless of numbers, flanks or supports, dashed directly upon them. There was a terrific crash, mingled with wild yells, which settled down into a steady roar of musketry. In less than ten minutes one half of that devoted eight hundred men were lying upon the field dead or wounded; but they had delivered a staggering blow and broken the force of the Federal advance. Benning's and Law's brigades came promptly to their support, and the whole swept forward together. The tide was flowing the other way. It ebbed and flowed many times during that day, strewing the Wilderness with human wrecks. Law's brigade captured a line of log breastworks in its front, but had held them only a few moments when their former owners (Webb's Brigade) came back to claim them. The Federals were driven back to a second line several hundred yards beyond, which was also taken. This advanced position was attacked in front and on the right from across the Orange Plank Road, and Law's Alabamians ‘advanced backward’ without standing on the order of their going, until they reached the first line of logs now in their rear. As their friends in blue still insisted on claiming their property and were advancing to take it, they were met by a counter-charge and again driven beyond the second line. This was held against a determined attack, in which the Federal General Wadsworth was shot from his horse as he rode up close to the right of the line on the Plank Road. The position again becoming untenable by reason of the movements of the Federal troops on their right, Law's men retired a second time to the works they had first captured. And so, for more than two hours, the storm of battle swept to and fro, in some places passing several times over the same ground and settling down at length almost where it had begun the day before.’The men of the Nineteenth Massachusetts regiment captured a large number of prisoners, a Rebel color, and participated in the capture of the cannon and in turning them upon the enemy. The command held the works until dark, under constant fire, and then was ordered to the rear where it rested for the night. On the following day, May 13, it lay in line behind
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.