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[116]

Cavalry Corps.

Second Division.—1st Mass. Cavalry (Lieut.-Col. L. M. Sargent).

Artillery.

3d Brigade, 9th Mass. Battery (Capt. John Bigelow).

Army of the James (Butler).


Tenth Army Corps (Gillmore).

First Division.—3d Brigade, 24th Mass. (Col. F. A. Osborne).

Second Division.—1st Brigade, 40th Mass. (Col. Guy V. Henry).


Eighteenth Army Corps (W. F. Smith).

Second Division.—1st Brigade, 23d Mass. (Col. Andrew Elwell); 25th Mass. (Maj. C. G. Attwood); 27th Mass. (Col. H. C. Lee).


Unattached troops.

13th Co. Mass. Heavy Artillery (Capt. John Pickering, Jr.), as pontoniers.


The first great battle of the campaign was the battle of the Wilderness (May 5-7, 1864), and it was, very fortunately, almost unique of its kind. It was not, like the later contests, an affair of entrenchments; cavalry had no important share in it, artillery little; it came as near as the invention of gunpowder permitted to the earliest form of hand-to-hand fighting. No description of the merely confused and chaotic side of war by Tolstoi or Zola or Crane equals the simplest soldier's narration of the Battle of the Wilderness. It was, in Swinton's phrase, ‘a collision of brute masses.’1 Once begun, it soon lost almost the semblance of military formation. Men could not see their own officers, keep in their own ranks or even know whom they were fighting. In the dense woods portions of regiments fired into one another. Badeau describes the region as ‘one tangled mass of stunted evergreen, dwarf chestnut, oak and hazel, with an undergrowth of low-limbed bristling shrubs, making the forest almost impenetrable.... A wrestle as blind as at midnight; a gloom that made manoeuvres impracticable; a jungle where regiments stumbled on each other and on the enemy ’

1 Decisive Battles of the War, p. 383.

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