Battle of the Wilderness

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“The battle of the Wilderness, between General Grant and General Lee, May 5th and 6th, 1864. Our sketch of the first of the great battles of General Grant in Virginia will give a striking idea of the battleground, to be henceforth forever famous, like Manassas, Gettysburg, Pittsburg Landing or Fair Oaks. The eye can take in the five-mile line of battle, which for two days advanced and met hostile advances, gaining ground to be lost in a moment, but holding steadily to their lines till the furious Confederate charge on the Sixth Corps swept away Seymour’s and Shaler’s brigade of the Third Division and had well-nigh won the day. Sedgwick, soon to fall, saved the right; but the Federal loss in two days was not far from 15,000. Our correspondent gives this interesting account of General Grant during the battle: ‘General Grant’s headquarters were located in a field between the plank road and a small road leading to a little hamlet known as Parker’s Store. During the fight, however, he was principally with General Meade, whose headquarters were on a piny knoll in the rear of Warren’s corps. I had seen Grant at Vicksburg and in Tennessee, and his appearance was familiar; but as I strolled through the group of officers reclining under the trees at headquarters, I looked for him some time in vain, such was his insignificant, unpretending aspect and conduct while the battle was raging in all its fury. A stranger to the insignia of military rank would have little dreamed that the plain, quiet man who sat with his back against a tree, apparently heedless and unmoved, was the one upon whom the fortunes of the day, if not of the age and country, were hanging. It was only when some aid or orderly rode up in hot haste with a communication from some portion of the battlefield that his eyes upturnd to seek in those of the messenger the purport of the message. The consultation with General Meade, or the direct suggestion or command, all took place with the same imperturbability of countenance for which he has always been remarkable. No movement of the enemy seemed to puzzle or disconcert him. Fertile in resources, the petition for re-enforcement was speedily answered. And while all this transpired he stood calmly in the group, at times smoking his favorite cigar, a more vigorous or a more frequent puffing only indicating the inward working of his mind.’"— Frank Leslie, 1896


Frank Leslie Famous Leaders and Battle Scenes of the Civil War (New York, NY: Mrs. Frank Leslie, 1896)


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