During the night of the 4th, Lee
sent orders to Ewell
to march upon the enemy at daylight of the 5th, desiring ‘to bring him to battle now as soon as possible.’
He ordered Hill
forward at the same hour, and himself promptly rode to the front, along the plank road, and was with the pickets when the skirmish opened, at Parker
's store, on that road, at the head of the Wilderness run
, three miles south of the old Wilderness tavern, where Grant
, accompanied by Assistant Secretary of War Dana
, had established their headquarters.
's cavalry were already skirmishing with those of Gregg
, on the Brock
road, in front of and far to Lee
's right, toward Todd
's tavern, while Ewell
's skirmishers were in lively engagement with those of Warren
, advanced to protect his flank on the Germanna road.
Now and then a field piece opened from either side.
sent word to Ewell
to regulate his advance by that of Hill
in the center, and his engineers reconnoitered the front, and the skirmish lines along the whole were soon made continuous.
reluctantly held back his two columns, unwilling to bring on general battle until his strong right, under Longstreet
, was in position.
He impatiently awaited the arrival of Longstreet
until 8 in the morning (5th), maintaining, in the meantime, a vigorous skirmish, which held the Federals
in check as Meade
developed his lines of battle, along the fields bordering Wilderness run
and fronting its wooded western watershed, which covered the deployment of Ewell
, riding to near the pickets in advance of Parker
's store, had halted to look down the open valley of Wilderness run
, at the long lines of Federals drawn up in battle array, when Meade
's skirmishers suddenly advanced from the pine thickets to the eastward.
's line sprang forward to meet these; he then reinforced that with Heth
's division, and a general battle appeared to have begun on Lee
's right Near the same time, about 11 of the morning, Ewell
's division, with Jones
' brigade in skirmish front, pressed back Warren
's skirmishers, and came in full view of his column, marching southward across the turnpike but ready to face to line of battle; which they promptly did and so forced an engagement before Lee
was ready for it. Jones
met the attack with a vigorous fire of musketry and