“Dont move until the infantry does”

Late that afternoon a Federal force commanded by Colonel Emory Upton quickly broke the Confederate lines at a salient held by Doles Georgia brigade of Rodes division. Only quick action and resolute counterattacks caused the Federals to withdraw. One of Hardaway’s batteries, the 3rd Company of the Richmond Howitzers, was overrun and the guns captured. The guns were recaptured and the position retaken before darkness that night. However, the unit was incapable of retaining its position because of its losses. As a result, one of Cutshaw’s batteries, The Staunton Artillery under Captain Asher Garber, had to take their place.

SpotsylaniaBattlefield 028

Looking across the front of the Confederate works to Doles salient in the distance. Upton’s people charged across this field from right to left. Tanner’s battery may well have been along these works near where the solitary tree is.

That evening following the withdrawal of the Federals General Lee issued orders to Lt. Gen. Ewell which read in part. “I wish General Rodes to rectify his line and improve its defenses, especially that part which seemed so easily overcome this afternoon. If no flanking arrangement a ditch had better be dug on the outside, and an abatis made in front.” (3)

Because of Lee’s instructions, and possibly Colonel Thomas Carters complaints to General Ewell that the shape of the line preventing his guns from effectively opposing Upton, action was taken the next day. General Long, Corps artillery commander, ordered the remaining two batteries of Cutshaw’s Battalion to take positions along Johnson’s front. Major Cutshaw selected a position for Carrington’s battery. General Long, the corps artillery commander personally selected position for Tanner’s battery.

Carrington’s battery had one section placed at the west angle (4), while the other was placed at 90 degrees to it to enfilade the field in front of the works to the left. Tanner’s battery was placed even further to the left, also to cover the field in front of the works.

The position Tanner was placed in was supposedly opposed by both General Walker commanding the Stonewall brigade, and Major Cutshaw. (5) Each of them thought that the battery should have been placed further to the right, or into the salient.

Later that afternoon General Lee ordered General Long to withdraw all the artillery along General Johnson’s line which would be difficult to access. Therefore the decision was made to withdraw the two artillery battalions, Pages and Nelsons, near the apex of the salient. (6) These guns which were withdrawn near dark, to try and conceal their removal. Both units going back to their respective camps for the evening. Pages to the Trigg farm on the south side of the Brock Road, Nelson to his camp behind the Courthouse village.

With Braxton still in reserve, this left only Cutshaw’s battalion and two batteries of Hardaway’s battalion along the infantry line of both divisions.

About Russ

Avid student of military history as well as amateur historian. Has a keen interest in archaeology. Founded his company Roadraceparts.com in 2004.
This entry was posted in 1864, American Civil War, artillery in the Overland Campaign, Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse, Battle of the Muleshoe, Bloody Angle, Carrington's Battery, 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, Richmond Howitzers, Tanner's Battery, West Angle and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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