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ened his lines and made them firm, preferring not to risk another assault till he should be reinforced.
Hancock had been halted at Todd's Tavern to guard it against Hill's approach up the Catharpen road. Sedgwick had arrived at Piney Branch Church. Burnside was at Aldrich's on the left. When it became known that Warren was confronted, Sedgwick was sent to his support with all haste, and with the hope that he and Warren would be able to crush Anderson before the rest of Lee's army could get to him. Burnside and Hancock were also notified to be ready to move.
Early's division of Ewell's corps was reported as close to Todd's Tavern on the Catharpen road. Hancock at once sent out a force to meet him and protect his flank. He succeeded in checking his progress, and Early, finding his point of destination occupied, withdrew. When Sedgwick reached Warren, an attack on Anderson was ordered. But it was late and the attack feeble, so nothing was gained by it. By this time Lee had become aware of the intent and magnitude of Grant's movement. He knew that Spottsylvania and not Fredericksburg was his objective, and that a daring flank movement and not a retreat was in
progress. As Anderson was, by sheer accident, directly across Grant's line of march to Spottsylvania, that was the point for concentration, that the line to sustain. It was a good one for defence, and would force the Federals to assume a most difficult offensive, if they ever got through it at all.
Meade was very apprehensive of his flank at Todd's Store. He kept Hancock there so long that Lee's work of concentration went on rapidly and without further molestation, faster even than that of the Federals after it once began in earnest. The evening of the gth of May, 1864, closed with Lee making all haste to occupy the position so happily secured by Anderson, and Grant using every endeavor to bring his army into a solid confronting line.
The scene was some two miles north of Spottsylvania.
A ridge stretched from the Ny to the Po, which are here about four miles apart. It was not a rugged ridge, but rolling and heavily timbered, affording excellent opportunity for purely defensive operations. The two rivers formed safe barriers for the flanks. The morning of the 9th would find the enemy in possession of this formidable barrier to further southern progress.
It was not as Grant nor any of his men would have had it. That all felt a sense of disappointment over the prospect was nothing more than natural. But it could not be helped now. Grant was not discouraged. He was not even put out with the delays and errors of the previous day nor with the greater blunders of the enemy which fate had turned to their profit. He faced the situation with a full sense of its gravity and with that same command of self and all the forces and energies of the hour which had ever characterized him amid emergency. As occasions rose, no matter how desperate, he always rose with them. In all his military history he was never outgeneraled by adversity.
When the morning of the 9th came Lee lay stretched from the Ny to the Po, in a semi-circle about Spottsylvania, commanding every northern road to the town. Anderson held his left extending to the Po with Longstreet's old corps.
Ewell held the centre, facing north and east. Hill came in on the right so as to guard the Fredericksburg road and the Ny crossings.
Warren remained in his position of the day before, opposite Anderson. Sedgwick lay to his left, ard Hancock occupied the Federal right, though holding rearward along the Brock road as far as Todd's Tavern. Burnside left one division at Piney Branch Church to guard the trains. The rest of his corps was moved toward Gate's so as to cover the extreme Federal left.
This disposition brought the two armies into close fighting proximity. Lee was busy fortifying, Grant
looking out for a weak spot to strike. The former was clearly on the defensive, the latter actively offensive, or soon to be.
Where now was Sheridan ? At noon on the 8th he had been placed under orders to strike Lee's rear, cut communications, and when out of forage, to make for the James, replenish out of Butler's stores, and return to the Army of the Potomac. · There was to be neither peace nor safety for Richmond and the enemy's rear so long as Grant was in command.
Grant's headquarters were immediately in Warren's rear. During the afternoon of the 9th, while engaged in examining
the Confederate lines, General Sedgwick of the Sixth Corps was killed by being struck full in the face with a bullet. The grief throughout the entire army occasioned by this loss was profound, for he was a steady, brave and able soldier and one much beloved. Grant regarded his death as a greater disaster than if he had lost an integral part of his army. He was succeeded by General H. G.
Wright of the First Division. Early's disappearance from the Catharpen road and Hancock's flank or right, enabled that officer to extend and strengthen his position. He swung his right wing around till it struck the Po. Burnside pushed Wilcox's division down to the Fredericksburg crossing of the Ny, on the extreme left. It succeeded in getting south of the stream, and soon had a good position there. The wings of the enemy were thus well enveloped and for a very wise purpose.
Grant had perceived all day that Lee was gradually pushing troops toward his right on the Ny and in the direction of Fredericksburg. He interpreted this to mean that Lee was anxious to turn his left and throw himself between Grant and
Fredericksburg This would have been disastrous to the Federal trains and supplies. With equal skill, and as a perfect counter, Grant, over and above the precaution of preventing this disaster by pushing Burnside well to the left, resolved on the demonstration on his right, which Hancock so vigorously executed. It had the desired effect, for it brought Early from Lee's right to his left. Lee saw quite too plainly that any advantage to him by being between Grant and Fredericksburg would be far more than counterbalanced by permitting the Federal army to whirl by his left and on to Richmond.
On the morning of the roth, Hancock forced his demonstration on the right by crossing the Po with Brook's brigade of Barlow's division and parts of Birney's and Gibbons' divisions. They found the enemy strongly posted on the rising ground beyond the river and did not attack. Meanwhile it had been decided to attack from the centre. Therefore Hancock called in his forces beyond the Po. This was the signal for a furious charge upon them by the Confederates. But the charge was resisted, and the difficult task of crossing a deep stream on a retreat and under fire was successfully achieved, though not without heavy losses on both sides.
In order to relieve the struggling forces of Hancock, Warren made an assault on the Confederate centre, aided by Wright, which was unsuccessful except for the information gained of the ground. He tried another diversion intended to clear the ground in his front of the almost impenetrable underbrush. But this too failed. Yet his voice favored the third and grand assault for which all were ready by 4 P. M.
The brunt of this was to be borne by Wright's and Warren's corps and Gibbon's and Mott's divisions of Hancock's corps. The point of attack was a densely wooded hill in front of Warren, crowned with earthworks and subject to cross and enfilading fires of both musketry and artillery. The approach was
through a dense growth of dead cedars whose sharp, interlacing branches made progress almost impossible. Grant and Meade stood on an elevation to watch the charge, but, as in the Wil. derness, the thicket and smoke obscured everything. Warren's men struggled manfully through the forest depths amid a fearful fire. At one or two points they scaled the heights and entered the enemy's breastworks. But the fire was too terrific to be withstood. They wavered, fell back through enfilading volleys, and were lost in retreat through the thick woods which, to add to the horror of the situation, suddenly took fire, smothering the wounded in smoke or burning them to death. Fortunately the enemy showed no disposition to pursue, but hugged their works closely.
Further to the left and in front of Wright's corps was an impenetrable morass. A little to the left of this and in front of Russell's division a weak spot was discovered in the enemy's lines. ' A storming party of twelve picked regiments was formed for an attack on this point. It was led by Col. Upton of the i20th N. Y. Volunteers, supported by Mott's division of the Second Corps. Late in the afternoon he led them on, formed in four lines. The men rushed forward as if inspired, climbed the hill in the face of an incessant fire, broke through the enemy's breastworks, and captured a brigade of infantry and a battery of artillery. Here Upton turned his victorious forces right and left, and drove the enemy along his entrenchments for a quarter of a mile either way. But Mott was too slow with his support. Upton held on till nightfall and then withdrew, his gallant soldiers weeping at the thought of losing what they had so hardly earned. He brought his prisoners off, but left the captured guns behind.
Hancock now came to the centre with Birney's division. A furious cannonade was kept up all the time that Warren was reforming his broken forces. At half past six the undaunted Fifth with two divisions of the Sixth were led to another