« 上一頁繼續 »
nel Emory Upton, of the Sixth Corps, assaulted the Salient near the Landron House, and with the utmost resolution carried the enemy's works, capturing for the moment colors, guns, and prisoners. Had Upton been properly supported he would have won a brilliant victory. He was, however, largely left to himself (the blame of which was at the time charged, justly or unjustly, upon Mott's division of the Second Corps); and his temporary success was turned into defeat, the enemy rallying with their accustomed desperation and driving him out with loss. The casualties in the Second Corps on the Ioth of May may be approximately stated at two thousand and fifty, including many valuable officers. No greater loss need have been sustained in attempting something that would have been worth doing. General Humphreys is right in saying: “It is to be regretted that Hancock had not been directed to cross the Po at daylight of the Ioth, instead of being ordered to cross late in the afternoon of the 9th. Had he been, there appears to be every reason to conclude that the Confederate left would have been turned and taken in rear while the Fifth Corps attacked it in front. As it was, Hancock's crossing in the evening of the 9th put Lee on his guard and enabled him to bring up his troops to the threatened flank by daylight of the Ioth and throw up intrenchments. It was a mistake, too, as Hancock had crossed, to abandon the turning movement on the morning of the Ioth, and make, instead of it, a front attack on the strong intrenchments of Longstreet's left. It would have been better to have continued the turning movement, the Fifth Corps aiding by sending one of its divisions to Hancock, and making a front attack with the other two at the critical moment.” The assaults upon the enemy's intrenchments, alike by the Fifth and by the Second Corps, had been bloody and fruitless. Assuming the withdrawal of Hancock's corps across the Po to have been necessary, the opportunity of the day was in the attack of Upton. Nothing that could be said of that heroic young officer or of General David A. Russell, his division commander, could exaggerate the deserts of these two soldiers, the shining ornaments of the Sixth Corps. The support of Upton should not have been left to a single division. The assaulting column should have been backed up by divisions of the Sixth Corps, by Gibbon as well as Mott from the Second, and by at least one division from the Fifth, uselessly engaged in assailing the center. This the more needs to be said because the characteristic fault of the campaign then opened was attacking at too many points. Few lines can be drawn by engineering skill which, owing to the nature of the ground, have not a weak point; few will be drawn by good engineers which have more than one. It is the office of the commander of an army to discover that weak point, to make careful and serious preparations for the attack, and to mass behind the assaulting column a force that shall be irresistible if the line be pierced. To assault at two points instead of one only is to double the loss while halving the chance of victory. To assault “all along the line,” as was so often done in the summer of 1864, is the very abdication of leadership. It is gratifying to record that the conduct of Colonel Upton received cordial recognition, and that he was at once promoted to be a brigadier general of volunteers.
Dow N to the 12th of May everything had gone wrong with the Union army since it left the battle ground of the Wilderness. “Some one had blundered ” regarding the movement to Spottsylvania. Instead of seizing that important point without a contest, the Union forces, finding the enemy there before them, had fallen to making a series of ill-conceived and ill-prepared attacks upon intrenched lines, which had resulted in nothing but severe losses, especially to the Fifth Corps, which had behaved with great but useless heroism. Sedgwick had been killed, an irreparable disaster; and almost every division of the army had suffered severely. The partition of authority between Grant and Meade had worked badly from the first, as it was destined to do through the remainder of the campaign. The troops felt that the attacks had not been carefully studied and adequately provided for; and the intelligence of the rank and file of the Northern army made them very poor subjects for official “fooling.”
On the eve of the 11th of May Hancock was or