U. S. CIVIL WAR
(PAGE 5 OF 5)
This fight between Lee and Merritt developed into the deadliest phase of the battle. The 1st New York Dragoons alone lost 91 men in the action, the highest loss of any cavalry regiment in a single engagement during the war. At one point in the battle, the Confederate logworks caught fire, but the soldiers simply shot at one another through the flames. Merritt finally captured the logworks late in the day, but as night drew on he withdrew his division towards Todd's Tavern enabling Lee to reoccupy them.
That night, Meade pulled his army out of its trenches in the Wilderness and began marching down the Brock Road toward Spotsylvania Court House. Major General Gouverneur K. Warren's Fifth Corps led the march. Meade ordered Sheridan to clear the road all the way to Spotsylvania, but the orders miscarried, and when Meade reached Todd's Tavern about midnight, he found Gregg's troops in bivouac there. He angrily ordered Merritt to finish clearing the road to Spotsylvania while Gregg pushed out the Catharpin Road to Corbin's Bridge to protect the army's right flank.
Meanwhile, on the other side of Corbin's Bridge, Robert E. Lee's army was arriving at the Shady Grove Church from which they would take the Shady Grove Church Road to Spotsylvania.
Shady Grove Church.   (A)
Shady Grove Church Road at Catharpin Road.   (B)
State Route 908, Now called the Robert E. Lee Drive.
Union General Merritt again found Fitz Lee's division still blocking the Brock road. Lee had felled trees across the road to hinder the Union army's advance, and his troops shot at the Federals as they tried to pull them out of the way. Impatient with Merritt's slow progress, Warren at dawn ordered Major General John C. Robinson's infantry division to the front. Robinson's foot soldiers pushed Fitz Lee's troopers back across the Alsop Farm clearing to a slight ridge later called Laurel Hill, less than two miles from the Court House.
Lee's men threw down fence
rails along the low, wooded crest and again prepared to contest the Union advance.
Robinson confidently advanced to attack them. As he did so, two Confederate
infantry brigades of Major General Richard H. Anderson's First Corps--the
vanguard of Lee's army--came running up from the rear and joined Lee's men along
the ridge, and together they hurled the Federals back in confusion. Repeated
attacks by Warren failed to crack the Confederate line.
Thanks to tenacious fighting on the part of Fitzhugh Lee's troopers, the Southerners had won the race to Spotsylvania. (Text Source: U.S. Gov't, National Park Service).
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