, McLaws says: The troops were immediately engaged, driving the enemy before them in magnificent style, at all points, sweeping the woods with perfect ease.
They were driven not only through the woods, but over a field in front of the woods, and over two high fences beyond, and into another body of woods over half a mile distant from the commencement of the fight.—Reports of the Army of Northern Virginia, vol.
II., p. 170. See also reports of his brigade commanders—Semnes, Ibid., p. 349; Barksdale, p. 351; Kershaw, p. 353. The Confederates, content with dislodging the Union troops, made no attempt to follow up their advantage, but retired to their original position also.
We must now look a little to Sumner's other divisions—to French and Richardson on his centre and left.
When the pressure on Sedgwick became the hardest, Sumner sent orders to French to attack, as a diversion in favor of the former.
French obeyed, with the brigades of Kimball and Weber, and succeeded in forcing<
, p. 7. One division and one brigade—the division of Early and the brigade of Barksdale—were intrusted with the duty of holding the heights of Fredericksburg; and, aericksburg, General Lee had left behind Early's division of four brigades and Barksdale's brigade of McLaws' division.
In addition to this force, the Confederate with his brigade, had been holding position at Banks' Ford, moved up to join Barksdale, but arrived too late to take part in the action, though he played a part in the afterpiece. Barksdale occupied the heights immediately in rear of the town, including Marye's Hill and the stone wall at its base, famous in the story of Burnsidment was disclosed, on Sunday morning, Early sent Hays' brigade to re-enforce Barksdale.
As it had required scarcely more than this force to repulse Burnside's successive columns of attack on the 13th of December, Barksdale had probably little doubt of his ability to give a like reception to those now threatening assault.
spirited charge, drove it back in disorder, capturing its colors.
The line being, however, still incomplete, Stannard's brigade was brought up, and General Meade led forward in person a part of the Twelfth Corps, consisting of two regiments of Lockwood's Maryland brigade, which were placed further to the left.
This was enough, for the enemy's efforts were now little more than the frantic sallies of an exhausted wrestler.
A terrible price had been exacted for the success he had won: General Barksdale, the impetuous leader of the boldest attack, was mortally hurt, and lay within the Union lines, and many other Confederate officers were killed and wounded.
When, therefore, Hancock ordered a counter-charge, the enemy easily gave way. This was made by the portions of the different corps that had come up to the assistance; and Humphreys' little band joined in, and had the satisfaction to retake and bring back its lost guns.
A new line was then formed by Doubleday's and Robinson's div
exertions of Generals Griffin, Ayres, and Bartlett.
They advanced a little way further, and held the line our corps occupied while north of Spottsylvania.—Notes of a Staff-Officer. During this episode, Crawford's division had come up. It succeeded in driving the Confederates out of the woods on Griffin's left;
Crawford double-quicked into the woods, and drove the enemy entirely back, the Confederates leaving their dead and wounded on the field.
The enemy encountered at this point was Barksdale's Mississippi brigade; and prisoners taken said they had travelled all night to hurry in there, and that the divisions of McLaws and Anderson were right behind.—Crawford: Notes on the Rapidan Campaign. and Wadsworth's division (under General Cutler) also arriving, drove them out of the woods on his right.
A line for the whole corps was then taken up, very close to the enemy, and the troops fell to intrenching of their own accord.
The force encountered before Spottsylvania Courthouse w