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Chapter 10: the tenth of May

  • May 10th assault
  • -- capture of enemy's works -- failure of support -- Orderly withdrawal -- responsibility for failure -- Colonel Olcott wounded and captured -- Upton's promotion to Brig. General. -- the Bloody angle


From the 5th to the 10th of May the regiment, with the brigade, occupied several positions of importance, covering the left wing of the army, and on two occasions came into skirmish action with the enemy, and suffered several casualties. On the 10th of May the regiment formed a part of the first line of an assault on the entrenchments of the enemy, which was brilliantly successful and ought to have resulted in the utter rout of Lee's army.

The account of this sanguinary assault is best begun by quoting Colonel Upton's official report of it:

The point of attack was at an angle near the Scott House, about half a mile from the Spottsylvania road. The enemy's entrenchments were of formidable character, with abatis in front, and surmounted by heavy logs, underneath which were loopholes for musketry. In the re-entrant to the right was a battery, with traverses between the guns. About one hundred yards to the rear was another line of works, partly completed and occupied by another line of battle.

The position was in an open field, about two hundred yards from a piece of woods. A wood road led from my position directly to the point of attack. The ground was looked over by General Russell and myself, and regimental commanders were also required to see it, that they might understand the work before them. The column of attack consisted of twelve regiments formed in

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Spottsylvania (Virginia, United States) (1)
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Henry Upton (2)
David A. Russell (1)
Egbert Olcott (1)
G. W. C. Lee (1)
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