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[352]

Chapter 33: battles around Spottsylvania.

Hill's Corps was composed of Heth's, Wilcox's and Mahone's (formerly Anderson's) division of infantry and three battalions of artillery under Colonel Walker. When I took command of it, the infantry numbered about 13,000 muskets for duty.

General Lee's orders to me were to move by Todd's Tavern along the Brock road to Spottsylvania CourtHouse as soon as our front was clear of the enemy. In order to get into that road, it was necessary to reopen an old one leading from Hill's right, by which I was enabled to take a cross-road leading into the road from Shady Grove to Todd's Tavern. The wagon trains and all the artillery, except one battalion, were sent around by Shady Grove. About a mile from the road from Shady Grove to Todd's Tavern, the enemy's cavalry videttes were encountered, and Mahone's division was thrown forward to develop the enemy's force and position. Mahone encountered a force of infantry which had moved up from Todd's Tavern toward Shady Grove and had quite a brisk engagement with it, causing it to fall back rapidly towards the former place. At the same time General Hampton, who had communicated with me, after I left the Plank Road, moved with his cavalry on my right and struck the enemy on the flank and rear; but on account of want of knowledge of the country on our part, and the approach of darkness, the enemy was enabled to make his escape. This affair developed the fact that the enemy was in possession of Todd's Tavern and the Brock road, and a continuation of my march would have led through his entire army. We bivouacked for the night, at the place from which Mahone had driven the enemy, and a force was thrown out towards Todd's Tavern, which was about a mile distant.

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