On Saturday, May 28th, we slept late, had a leisurely breakfast, and drove 15 miles to the Wilderness battlefield.
This is a very different area than it was in 1863. There aren’t as many trees still standing.
In 1863 the area was a deep and dark forest with just two parallel roads traversing from east to west. Once you got off either of the roads, the underbrush was so thick it was hard to get into a battle line, let alone move in any coordinated fashion.
There were a few farms with open fields that were focal points of the fighting. In one of these farm areas the Union Army of the Potomac was just about to break through the Confederate Line. Lee needed a brigade to stop the Yanks.
Hood’s Texas Brigade, which was composed of the 1st, 4th, 5th Texas and the 3rd Arkansas, happened to be marching toward the fighting, and Lee called upon them personally to help him. He said that Texans “always move ‘em.”
The Brigade went crazy with yelling and advanced to plug the gap. The warrior spirit they displayed was catching, and Lee got so worked up he yelled he would lead the charge. The men of the Texas Brigade wouldn’t allow it, and they ordered Lee to the rear or else they wouldn’t charge.
General Lee was finally able to contain his emotions. The Texans dealt the Union force a mighty blow and saved the day on this part of the battlefield.
There is a small stone monument that celebrates this incident.
Nancy and I found the Texas monument that listed the regiments of the Brigade and the chain of command. The 3rd Arkansas was listed.
We got in the car and headed to Spotsylvania Courthouse.