Perhaps its just me, but one of the things I enjoy the most is trying to nail down the location of a unit at any particular time. Of course we generally only have the testimony of a few people to go on. But some times its pretty easy.
I was rereading the manuscript for “Contributions to a history of the Richmond Howitzers”, in particular the chapter “A Diary of the War”. In it the author was describing the events of May 12 at Spotsylvania and he left some pretty good clues as to where they occurred. So perhaps we can decipher the location.
After being mauled during Upton’s charge on the 10th the battery was withdrawn to refit. Because of the losses, both of men and horses, they were only able to field two detachments. These would man the two-three inch rifles. Lieutenant Henry Carter was in command, Corporal Flournoy commanded the 1st detachment, and Sergeant White the 2nd.
Early on the morning of the 12th the battery was ordered forward from the camps and halting in a wood near the lines, reported to Captain Graham of the Rockbridge Artillery. This battery you may remember was not in the salient but back in front of the Courthouse. There they could take advantage of the longer range of their rifles.
While awaiting further orders a passing Major of artillery took it upon himself to order that the guns be left where they were and only the cannoneers go forward. By doing so they would be available to man the guns captured by the Federals that morning when they were recaptured. Captain Graham giving his approval the men from the gun crews went forward.
The position they arrived at being exposed to the fire sweeping across the Salient the men had to seek shelter. And it is in describing that shelter that we have our clues.
– some men took shelter behind log houses
– others took shelter in trenches nearly filled with water.
– Sergeant White took shelter behind a little house not much larger than a chicken coop. However it had a chimney “tall enough for a shot tower”
– they were behind the position they had held on the 10th.
So where were they? Certainly near but not at the Harrison House. Amongst its outbuildings? Or were there other buildings?
– They could see the artillery massed near them at the Harrison House and watch thirty horses shot down by Federal minie balls.