Spotsylvania - Upton's Attack
May 10, 1864
By the time the Upton attack was approved, much of the day had past. The Confederate fortifications, which were on the left side of the picture, were a short distance from the woods on the right, and since the Confederate skirmishers had been driven in, this section of the Mule Shoe could be taken by surprise. Upton brought the commanders of his twelve picked regiments to the woods and showed them the position and explained his plan. His 5,000 man brigade was formed in a column of four lines of three regiments each. At 6 P.M., after a preliminary bombardment ceased, the column emerged from the woods on the right and charged down a path across the approximately 200 yard field and into the Confederate position. As you can see in the picture, the attack route is in slightly lower ground, which partially sheltered the Federals.
Here you can also see that the area of the attack on the left is a slight salient. Confederate fire here diverged, giving the attackers an additional advantage. Troops along the Confederate line were taken by surprise, and since there were only 200 yards from the woods to the Rebel lines, the lines were taken. On the left are the remains of the Confederate fortifications, which were much larger at the time of the battle, held by Doles' Georgia brigade. When Upton's first line broke through they swept left and right to expand the hole in the Confederate line.
On the right of the picture, the entrenchments were held by Walker's Stonewall Brigade up to what became the Bloody Angle in the distance. The Virginians had been able to fire into the flank of Upton's column as it neared the entrenchments, but with the penetration, they were enfiladed, and the right two regiments broke. The men were rallied, however, and Walker organized a line perpendicular to the entrenchments at a treeline where the modern road turns sharply left. Later in the fight, the Stonewall Brigade joined other units to its left in the successful counterattack.
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