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[151] cut himself loose from his base of supplies, burning his bridges behind him, he was able, by a wonderful foresight, to so direct the management of the commissiarat, that, during a campaign of unusual severity of twenty-one days, double rations were given out to the soldiers.

When Gen. Lee saw the purpose of the Federal movement he hastened forward, having the advantage of a shorter route. When the Fifth Corps, the Federal advance, reached the vicinity of Spottsylvania, C. H., the van of the Confederates was at that placc. Our cavalry occupied it early on the morning of the 8th, but was compelled to retire before the advance of the Confederate infantry. The Fifth Corps forced back the advancing infantry, until it found itself opposed by a solid line of battle, evidently the front of the main body of the enemy. Now followed severe fighting.

It was past noon when the Sixth Corps crossed the tributary of the Mattapony, beyond which the Fifth was contending with a superior force, although an uninterrupted, forced march had been made hither. Our corps immediately joined the Fifth. At dark a combined attack was made by both corps, but with slight result, other than to confirm the record for persistent courage and fidelity which the Fifth Corps, the old First, which had been united with it in March, and the Sixth, had previously won.

Due south of the positions held in the wilderness by the Confederate right and Federal left, less than a dozen miles, are the head waters of the Mattapony. Glancing at the map facing page 152, four streams are seen uniting to form that river, the Mat, the Ta, the Po, and the Ny. It was between the two latter most northern forks and near the banks of the Po, that the engagement of the 8th of May occurred; we passed the night at a spot to the northeast of Laurel Hill, where the road falls off from the hillock to the ford of the Ny. On the morning of the 9th, we moved to the southwest and took position in line, our corps on the right of the Second. We had been perhaps two hours in position, there having been a more or less continuous interchange of artillery shots, as if both were employed in getting the range, and there had been considerable skirmishing in our front; and during this time the sharpshooters on both sides were busy in the trees, picking off officers, when our corps commander, Gen. Jno. Sedgwick, came

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