a mile of Sedgwick
's line, capturing 600 of his men and two of his brigadiers; and they were still sweeping on to victory, even through the gathering darkness, when Ewell
called a halt.
Not knowing of the existence of Hancock
's formidable intrenchments, Lee
's right, consisting of the divisions of Field
, charged against Hancock
, on the Brock
road, to find themselves confronted by a wall of fire, made by the burning of the front line of Federal breastworks, which had been set on fire by the burning forest, and by a more dangerous, blazing line of infantry and artillery, that poured rifle ball and shot and shell into their ranks from behind Hancock
's second line of breastworks, which he now held in force.
The Confederates drove back the Federals
, even from this double-fire line, and planted their flags on the front line of breastworks, but for a short time only.
They were repulsed by the fierce artillery fire that was poured upon them, as night put an end to the fierce struggles of this 6th day of May.
At the close of this day, Lee
held, all along his lines, a position advanced from that held in the morning, and the great army of the Potomac found itself in the toils of a defensive struggle, in aid of which it was throwing up new lines of breastworks, along the positions to which it had been forced back on its right and along its center, and was grimly holding on to the triple line of defenses that guarded its left.
On the morning of the 7th, at 10, Grant
telegraphed to Washington
, from the Wilderness tavern
We were engaged with the enemy nearly all day, both on the 5th and the 6th.
Yesterday the enemy attacked our lines vigorously, first at one point and then another, from right to left.
They were repulsed at all points before reaching our lines, except once during the afternoon on Hancock's front, and just after night on Sedgwick's front.
In the former instance they were promptly and handsomely repulsed; the latter, Milroy's old brigade was attacked and gave away in the greatest confusion, almost without resistance, carrying good troops with them.
Had there been daylight the enemy could have injured us very much in the confusion that prevailed; they, however, instead of getting through the break, attacked General Wright's division of Sedgwick's corps, and were driven back.
After confessing that his loss had been about 12,000, and mentioning his killed, wounded and captured generals, he added: ‘I think the loss of the enemy must exceed ours, but this is only a guess based upon the fact that they attacked and were repulsed so often’—a statement