In all my studies of Spotsylvania there is one statement that I keep returning to. Two sentences that could unlock so much, yet never will. They were written in a letter from Wilfred Cutshaw to James McDowell Carrington in 1905. You will remember that Carrington commanded the Charlottesville Artillery in Cutshaw’s battalion. His battery along with Tanner’s, both of which were in Cutshaw’s battalion, was along the line of Johnson’s division on the morning of May 12.
So lets see what Cutshaw had to say.
“Why only one Battalion was ordered back after 12 o’clock at night and why they did not go there until the enemy was just about to break over the works it is difficult to say. There are points which could be discussed if we were together that might account for this, but it is not possible to clear it up in the brief comment on the account as you have it.”
So there you have it. He is of course referring to the fact that two battalions, Page’s and Nelson’s were withdrawn from the center and right of Johnson’s line, yet only one, Page’s was ordered to return. And that in took far too long for it reach its intended positions.
Obviously he knew something about the causes, but apparently he carried it to his grave. All of his superiors except Thomas Carter, as well as most of his peers, of the time had already died, and Cutshaw himself would die in 1907.