“Stonewall Brigade” lines out in McCoull Field

For the Stonewall Brigade  their line began a short distance to the right of the apex of the pine grove. There the ridge had ended  roughly where the farm lane from Harrison’s forked. Dole’s people had taken in the end of the ridge and placed their line with the lane in front of their line. It was only natural then that the Stonewall would do the same. Their line would parallel the lane, running across an open field until it entered another woods and crossed the lane from McCoull’s and climbed onto the ridge. From there the remainder of the brigade as well as the rest of the division followed the ridge to the north. While the two left hand regiments were in the open ground of the McCoull field, making connection with Doles extreme right,  the rest of the division took position either in front of, or just inside the woods along the ridge.


A =parapet of the Stonewall’s line B= berm by the bed of the farm lane C= Doles Salient = the sloping ground that Upton’s men charged across E heavily traversed section of the Stonewall’s line

While the two left regiments, the 2nd and the 33rd were out in the field in front of McCoulls , to the right the woods extended out in front of the works as well as within. This provided cover for the skirmishers from their opposite numbers. According to members of the brigade the works were constructed by building something similar to a crib from trees cut down using whatever tools which were available. A series of vertical posts were placed some distance apart. Then similar post laid horizontally between the. The gap between them would be filled with dirt and rocks as protection from projectiles. A shim was then placed along the top and finally a “head log” (A) secured on top of the shims. The space created by the shims created a loophole for the men to fire from.

The first serious attempt by the Federals to break the 2nd Corps line did not come until 6 PM on the 10th. Emory Upton sent 12 regiments across the field in front of Dole’s Salient and  the left of the Stonewall Brigade. The regiments of the Stonewall poured a heavy fire into the left flank of the attacking column. but they quickly broke the line and advanced into the McCoull field. Outflanked, the men of the 2nd and 33rd Va. fell back up the line until halted by Gen. Walker near the West McCoull lane. There they rallied and along with the rest of the brigade, as well as other units, fought until Upton’s people withdrew to the safety of their own lines.

That evening the brigade returned to its original positions. Not only did those stricken have to be cared for but positions had to be cleared of debris and the men resupplied. In addition an officer led a detail of men armed with axes out to cut down the trees in front of the works. (B)


a view of some of the works manned by the Stonewall. Note water standing in the ditch behind the parapet. There would have been no grass in or on the trenches during the battle. So rainfall such as on the 12th would have made this a miserable place.


from behind the parapet you can see the bed of the farm lane out in front. The visitors parking lot in the distance.


looking toward the West Angle, note the parapet being below the high ground beyond the visitors. Ramseurs men trying to hold these works on the 12th suffered from federals on the high ground being able to fire over their traverses.

About Russ

Founded Roadraceparts.com in 2004. Started with used parts and now have a full service parts business specializing in parts for the tube frame TransAm and GT cars. We supply both new and used parts. In addition build and sell Gt cars. Avid amateur historian and has a keen interest in archaeology.
This entry was posted in 1864, American Civil War, artillery in the Overland Campaign, Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse, Bloody Angle, Cutshaw's Battalion, Doles Salient, Earthworks and trenchs, field fortifications, Hancock's assault on the Muleshoe, Johnson's Division, May 12, Mule Shoe, Overland Campaign 1864, Upton's Charge, West Angle and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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