Assault on Dole’s Salient

Today I went out to Spotsylvania and did a one man assault on the earthworks at Dole’s Salient. Forgive the fact that there is no audio other than the wind. Also the fact that I was using a hand held Blackberry Playbook to do the recording.

However the route was  accurate. Starting at the current wood line and following just to the left of the trail Upton’s regiments guided on as they advanced toward the line. His formation had four lines, each consisting of three regiments. Two regiments were to the left of the road, one to the right. The two park service markers, (behind the works) in the distance give us a sense of the distance to the works.

By moving the device I attempted to replicate a person turning their head during the approach.

So, I hope you find it interesting, and in case you are interested it took less than 1 minute and 10 seconds to cross the space. We must remember that the historic wood line was about 50 yards further back. Surely a fit 20 year old, in fear for his life could have done it much quicker. Even so, how many rounds could the defenders get off in that period of time?

I would like to know do you find this sort of thing interesting. Obviously it can be improved.


About Russ

Avid student of military history as well as amateur historian. Has a keen interest in archaeology. Founded his company in 2004.
This entry was posted in Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse, Doles Salient, field fortifications, Mule Shoe, Uncategorized, Upton's Charge and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Assault on Dole’s Salient

  1. Larry G says:

    pretty interesting. back then.. would they be running like hell towards the line with the intent of jumping over and into the trench or did they crawl on the ground? Probably a dumb question.


    • Russ says:

      Theoretically they would be moving as quickly as possible to get to the works. Remember Upton had them attack with uncapped muskets just to ensure that they wouldn’t be tempted to stop and fire.

      That said, I think that there would be a reluctance to be the first one there. So, it was probably a reluctant mass swarming toward the works. They would have been delayed by abatis, and the defenders would be waiting for the first brave souls to cross the works.

      But 1:09 isnt a long time to get your gun, load, take aim on an oncoming target and fire.

      Think this experiment is worth repeating?


      • Larry G says:

        that particular path, I have taken, a lot, maybe a hundred times or more. I’ve often wondered what a similar thrust would look like at the muleshoe itself but also these other trench lines – like the ones back from the Dole Salient – closer to the maintenance structure.

        turning you camera side-to-side was helpful in establishing just where your path was.

        this and other exercises seem to be a pretty free-form thing that is up to the person who is taking the time.. others like myself benefit when you share it.


      • Russ says:

        According to an account by a member of the Stonewall Brigade Upton’s men quickly established a line as far as the McCoull house.. Therefore they over ran whatever troops were in the support line.. Also they got close to Gordons line in front of the Harrison House. The counterattack is an interesting story itself.

        I think I am going to do a very simple post – 1 line – and ask a question.

        Sent from my BlackBerry PlayBook


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