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General GRANT, with his staff and escort, moved their headquarters at eight o'clock. An alarm occurred on the road as the General passed the lines of the corps which were nearest to those of the enemy. A short rattle of musketry was heard, and the General balted at General HANCOCK's headquarters on the road, and scouts were sent along the picket lines, who ascertained that the enemy had raised a shout in reply to the shouts of our troops, which provoked the pickets to discharge their pieces and rush back to their supports.
The General and his escort went on dashing through the woods, upon by-roads, to avoid the troops and wagon trains, his escort trailing behind him. They galloped along through the darkness, occasionally overtaking a body of troops, who, as they ascertained that General GRANT was passing, raised such shouts and cheers as to place any similar demonstration which this army had manifested into utter insignificance. The party reached Todd's Tavern soon after midnight, where headquarters were established.
The wagon train was encamped in a park near Chancellorsville. General WARREN'S Corps passed on through Todd's Tavern on Saturday night, toward the front, and at sunrise were within two and a half miles of Spottsylvania Court House, and immediately were put into action to relieve the cavalry. The enemy were also just in time for a similar movement, and STUART's cavalry were simultaneously relieved by LONGSTREET's corps of infantry. The Fifth Corps, tired with a long night march, rushed into action with a double-quick, General ROBINSON'S Division leading the charge. The rebels yielded before them, and we pushed them on for three miles. During the battle General ROBINSON was wounded.
The last engagement of this morning's fight was very Bevere; our losses were great; General ROBINSON was
severely wounded, but we charged them so far and so impetuously that our men were outflanked on the left and had to fall back a short distance to form their lines anew. Many of the men who were engaged in this action were so exhausted and overcome with weariness and fatigue that they could hardly support themselves, and after they had charged through a clearing and a strip of wood, were forced to retire eight rods. The enemy gained no advantage, for our artillery was brought into action, and the rebels were unable to occupy the position which our men had abandoned.
The Fifth Corps had suffered in the previous fight so severely that there was not a single division of it in perfect fighting trim; but General AUGUR, commanding the Regulars, filed in from the right, and the position was held at last. We had now nearly advanced to where two roads form a junction, within two miles and a half of Spottsylvania Court House. The crest at the junction of these roads once attained, an important advantage would have been achieved. This was not quite accomplished. Another desperate effort must be made before Spottsylvania Court House would be in our possession. That point once reached, an open country and fair battle fields lay before the army, and it already began to realize, to some extent, the advantages of " getting out of the Wilderness."
The greater part of the Sabbath was occupied in examining the positions, in resting the men, and in making preparations for a renewal of the attack at night. Nothing transpired during the day with the exception of an artillery duel.
About noon the batteries were posted, ours in the edge of a piece of woods; theirs on an opposing hill.
As evening approached, General GRANT started to the front to take another glance at the position, and to inspire our troops for the grand onset wbich was soon to be
made. Before the General arrived at our left flank, the rattle of musketry from the advance skirmishers, and the straggling back of wounded men, indicated that the moment had almost arrived. Troops from the Fifth and Sixth Corps, in several heavy lines, were concentrated in front of the position to which the rebels had fallen back after the engagement in the early part of the day. General WRIGHT's division, already distinguished by most gallant conduct, took the lead. At quarter before seven a shout was raised, and the attack commenced as our troops moved out of the woods through a narrow open space and up a tangled thicket, which was held and fortified by the enemy. MILLS' Brigade and the Jersey troops were once more in the thickest of the fight, reduced though they were in one regiment from four hundred and thirty men to one hundred and eighty, and commanded by a captain. Deafening musketry and a dense volume of smoke raised up from the place where they engaged the enemy for half an hour.
At a quarter after seven, as the light began to fade away, the heat of the firing began to cease. Hitherto the ear could scarcely distinguish any fluctuation in the sounds which came from those gloomy pines. But now the enemy commenced to give way, and the shouts of our men receding as the enemy were pushed along, showed that the issues of the attack were favorable and decided. We had beaten the enemy, had drawn them from the position which they had so strongly contested, but the darkness was now so great that we could not safely press them further, and Spottsylvania Court House still remained, that night, in the hands of the rebels.
MONDAY'S OPERATIONS. Monday afternoon was spent quietly in camp, both for the much-needed rest of the soldiers and for replenishing
the army with rations. We lost General SEDGWICK during the day, not in the thickest of the fight, where he had so often exposed himself, but by the hand of a sharpshooter during the interval of preparation. The General was inspecting the picket lines in front, attended by two of his staff, when a ball passed in below his eye, passing through the base of the brain and the medulla oblongata, killing him instantly.
Our train of ambulances, containing some thirteen thousand wounded, was started on the road across Ely's Ford, but was attacked and turned back. It finally proceeded to Fredericksburg, where almost every house was converted into a hospital.
TUESDÁY'S GREAT BATTLE. FIRST DAY AT
SPOTTSYLVANIA COURT HOUSE.
HANCOCK, during the night, left the line occupied by him during Monday, and swung his front around early in the morning, taking a position about one mile and a half in advance of his former position, driving the enemy before him and making good use of artillery and infantry fire.
About half-past ten o'clock, CUTTER'S Division of the Fifth Corps, left their previous position, and formed a line of battle on the edge of a piece of open country to the right and rear of HANCOCK's left. A column was deployed across this piece of ground and formed in line within easy musket range of a piece of woods filled with the rebels. This column maintained the position occupied by them nearly the entire day, and were subject to terrible artillery and musketry, fire, which was returned with great spirit and effect. A portion of GRIFFIN's Division, of the Fifth Corps, were sent to drive the rebels out of a copse of woods held by them, on the right of the Fifth Corps.
They entered the woods by brigades, which were relieved alternately, and for hours a deadly and determined fight continued, in which a little ground was gained by our troops with much difficulty, the rebels contesting every inch of the same. Batteries D and H, of the First New York Artillery, held positions to the left of these woods, and did fine execution in throwing shell and grape-shot, which told with effect on the enemy. COOPER's First Pennsylvania Battery was held in reserve on the brow of a hill, ready to cover any reverse that our men, who were fighting so desperately in the woods in front, might sustain. About 12 o'clock, General RICE, who gallantly led the Fourth Division of the Fifth Corps into action, received a musket ball in the knee. He was carried to the rear, and died during the afternoon. The division commanded by General RICE were stoutly engaged during the day, and at one time were subjected to a murderous fire from different points for a period of three hours, without intermission.
From ten o'clock in the morning until the shades of night fell, the battle raged with the greatest fury. Division after division went into the woods and pressed steadily forward. No column retired, except to take a rest on the edge of the woods while being relieved by others. The roar of artillery and sharp rattling of the musketry was absolutely fearful. Shells were bursting in every direction, and either side most resolutely maintained their respective positions for hours.
Early in the afternoon, two divisions of HANCOCK'S Corps changed positions from right to left, and after a brief rest went into the woods with great spirit, and were shortly in close conflict with the enemy. Two batteries on the right of WRIGHT's Corps were in active service during the morning, engaged in shelling the woods to the right, which were filled with rebels. This firing ceased