and was moving to strike Lee
's right and rear.
Early, temporarily in command of the Third corps, arrived in time to meet this attack, which had to advance across open fields, with infantry and artillery, and give it a handsome repulse.
Thus brought into position, the Third corps held Lee
's right, from the horseshoe salient around the front of Spottsylvania Court House; it also occupied a portion of the eastern front of the salient, while Ewell
held the remainder of that front, its north projecting apex and its western face.
Favorable positions for artillery were found throughout the line, which was made stronger with each passing hour while awaiting Grant
's attack from the north and west, after the repulse of that of Burnside
from the east.
Advancing on the 9th, Hancock
took position on Grant
's right and sent three divisions across the Po
to menace Lee
's left and rear from the west.
These movements revealed to Lee
intended to attack his entire front, and, with his superior numbers, which were double those of Lee
, attempt to turn both his flanks.
During the night of the 9th, in anticipation of Grant
's attack, Lee
's division, of Hill
's corps, across the Po
, by a circuit to the southward, under the command of Early
, who, moved into line across the Louisa
road, fell upon Hancock
's flank and rear, at dawn of the 10th, just as he was obeying Grant
's recall to join in his proposed front attack.
severely punished Barlow
's division, of Hancock
's corps, on which his attack fell, and captured one of his guns, in this engagement, which became known as the ‘battle of Waite's Shop.’
About the time of the failure of Hancock
's flanking movement to Lee
's left, at 9:30 of the 10th of May, Grant
dispatched to Washington
, still from ‘near’ Spottsylvania Court House:
The enemy hold our front in very strong force and evince a strong determination to interpose between us and Richmond to the last.
I shall take no backward steps but may be compelled to send back to Belle Plain [below Aquia creek on the Potomac] for further supplies.
Please have supplies of forage and provisions sent there at once and 50 rounds of ammunition (infantry) for 100,000 men. Send General Benham with the necessary bridge train for the Rappahannock river.
We can maintain ourselves at least, and, in the end, beat Lee's army, I believe.
Send to Belle Plain all the infantry you can rake and scrape.
With present position of the armies, 10,000 men can, be spared from the defenses of Washington, besides all the troops that