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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 1086 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter XLVIII.

The enemy was found on the morning of the 8th to be shifting his position toward Spotsylvania Court-House. Our whole army also moved in that direction, and arrived at that place on the same evening. A few guns were put in position near the Court-House. The infantry of General Ewell's corps bivouacked on the position it was to occupy in line of battle. On the 9th General Ewell's line was accurately established and fortified. Braxton's and Page's battalions were put in position along the line of infantry. This position, like the one at the Wilderness, was not well adapted to the effective use of artillery, the view being obstructed by forest and old field pine. General Hill's position to the right of General Ewell afforded a better field. The artillery was, however, carefully posted, with the view of rendering the most effective support to the infantry. On the morning of the 10th Braxton and Page were relieved by Nelson and Hardaway, the former occupying the position on Johnson's front, and the latter those on Rodes' front. In the afternoon the enemy, having massed heavily in front of Doles' brigade, under cover of a dense pine thicket, made a sudden attack upon this brigade, broke it, and entered our works, overrunning and capturing Smith's battery, of Hardaway's battalion. Our infantry was soon rallied, and being re-enforced repulsed the enemy and recaptured the battery. The captain and some of his men were made prisoners and carried off. Hardaway's guns were principally engaged in this attack and were served with gallantry and effect. Smith's guns being without cannoneers were manned by Captain Garber and his men, of Cutshaw's battalion. In this attack the gallant Major Watson, of Hardaway's battalion, was mortally wounded. Lieutenant-Colonel Hardaway was also wounded, but did not leave the field.

On the 11th Cutshaw's and Page's battalions were brought up and put in position, and a portion of Hardaway's battalion was relieved. The enemy made no decided attack upon any part of our line during the day. Late in the afternoon I received orders to have all the artillery which was difficult of access removed from the lines before dark, and was informed that it was desirable that everything should be in readiness to move during the night; that the enemy was believed to be moving from our front. I immediately ordered all the artillery on Johnson's front, except two batteries of Cutshaw's battalion, to be withdrawn, as it had to pass through a wood by a narrow and difficult road, and the night bid fair to be very dark. The withdrawal of the artillery proved to be very unfortunate, as the enemy instead of retreating massed heavily on Johnson's front during the night for the purpose of attacking.

At 3.30 a.m. on the 12th I received a note from General Johnson, indorsed by General Ewell, directing me to replace immediately the artillery that had been withdrawn the evening before; that the enemy was preparing to attack. I immediately ordered Page's battalion to proceed with all haste to the assistance of General Johnson. He moved his battalion with great rapidity, but just as he reached the point to be occupied the enemy broke Johnson's line and enveloped and captured all of Page's guns except two, which were brought off by Captain Montgomery. At the same time two batteries twenty guns-twelve from Page and eight from Cutshaw. Had the artillery been in position the result might have been different, or had the weather been favorable this disaster might have been


Page 1086 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter XLVIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 36, Part 1 (Wilderness-Cold Harbor)
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