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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 36, Part 1 (Wilderness-Cold Harbor)
Page 321 Chapter XLVIII. RAPIDAN TO THE JAMES.

unde my orders. Before the hour at which the attack was directed to commence had arrived I was informed that Longstreet's corps was passing up the Catharpin road to attack my left flank. Preparations were at once made to receive the enemy at that point. Barlow's division was placed in position for that purpose, and my artillery was formed to cover the road leading from the Catherpin to the Brock road, along which it was supposed the enemy would advance. A strong skirmish line was also thrown out covering the Brock road. These preparations were made under the immediate supervision of General Gibbon, who was placed in command of his own and Barlow's division and the left of my line, General Birney being in command of the right. At 5 a. m.., according to instructions before mentioned, the command of General Birney, consisting of his own and Mott's division, advanced along the Orange plank road, simultaneously with General Getty's troops (now under command of General Wheaton), and attacked the enemy with, great vigor. These troops were supported by Carroll's and Owen's brigades of Gibbon's division. After a desperate contest, in which our troops conducted themselves in the most intrepid manner, the enemy's line was broken at all points, and he was driven in confusion through the forest for about 1 1\2 miles, unsfering severe losses in killed, wounded, and prisoners. Our line, which had become somewhat disordered by the long distance which it had pressed after the enemy through the wood, was now halted, to adjust its formation before advancing farther. About this hour Webb's brigade, of Gibbon's division, was order to the right in support of Briney. General Birney directed General Webb to relieve the troops of General Getty's division with his brigade. These troops, having lost heavily during the fight earlier in the morning, were withdrawn after having been relieved by General Webb, and were formed on the original line of battle along the Brock road. At 7 a. m. I sent a staff officer to General Gibbon, commanding the left o my line, informing him of our success on my right, and directing him to attack the enemy's right, and directing him to attack the enemy's right with Barlow's division, and to press to the right toward the Orange plank road. This order was only partially carried out. Frank's brigade, of Barlow's division, was sent to feel the enemy' right, and after an obstinate contest succeeded in forming a connection with the left of Mott's division. I do not know why my order to attack with Barlow's division was not more fully carried out, but it was probably owing to the apprehended approach of Longstreet's corps on my left about that time; but, had my left advanced as directed by me in several orders, I believe the overthrow of the enemy would have been assured. At all events, an attack on the enemy's right by the troops of Barlow's division would have prevented the turning of the left of Mott's division, which occurred later in the day.

At 8 a. m. Stevenson's division, of Burnside's corps, reported to me at the intersection of the Orange plank road and the Brock road. About the same hour General Wadsworth, of the Fifth Corps, with about 5,000 troops, was placed under my orders. General Wadsworth's command went into action on the right of the Orange plank road, connecting with General Birney's line of battle. I was also inform about this time, by a dispatch from General Meade, that two of General Burnside's divisions had pushed forward nearly to Parker's Store and would attack across my front to relieve me. The enemy was now making some demonstrations on my extreme left,

21 R R-VOL XXXVI, PT I


Page 321 Chapter XLVIII. RAPIDAN TO THE JAMES.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 36, Part 1 (Wilderness-Cold Harbor)
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