History: War is such a useless loss of human lives.

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GMT - 3 Hours History: War is such a useless loss of human lives.

Post by Simba on Wed Jun 04, 2014 5:37 pm

On May 10, Grant began to attack Lee's position at Spotsylvania. After achieving a temporary breakthrough at the Rebel center, Grant was convinced that a weakness existed there, as the bend of the Confederate line dispersed their fire. At dawn on May 12, Union General Winfield Scott Hancock's troops emerged from the fog and overran the Rebel trenches, taking nearly 3,000 prisoners and more than a dozen cannons. While the Yankees erupted in celebration, the Confederates counterattacked and began to drive the Federals back. The battle raged for over 20 hours along the center of the Confederate line—the top of the inverted U—which became known as the "Bloody Angle." Lee's men eventually constructed a second line of defense behind the original Rebel trenches, and fighting ceased just before dawn on May 13.

Around the Bloody Angle, the dead lay five deep, and bodies had to be moved from the trenches to make room for the living. The action around Spotsylvania shocked even the grizzled veterans of the two great armies. Said one officer, "I never expect to be fully believed when I tell what I saw of the horrors of Spotsylvania."
A Confederate Veteran wrote this remembrance of the Bloody Angle in the Confederate Veterans Magazine in 1894:
"We had dropped back to that point and had
built transverse breastworks. The Yankees charged
the lines and routed the Confederates at one point.
Our Brigade (McGowan's) was commanded to retake
the works. After a fierce and desperate struggle
we drove the Yankees out. A terrible electric storm
was raging. The very clouds had the appearance
of rolling waves of fire. The rain was pouring in
torrents and the wind blowing a perfect hurricane.
The Union forces attempted to retake the works,
their troops coming to within a few feet of us. A
Federal officer demanded surrender. This was re-
fused. He mounted upon the embankment in our
front and instantly his body was perforated with
bullets, and a deadly volley was poured into their
lines, which now began a hasty retreat. After re-
treating but a short distance, they reformed and
returned the fire.
The transverse breastworks were built like pens,
logs being piled in front and on the flanks to pre-
vent an invaliding fire from the enemy. The tree
which was cut down was within arm's reach of me.
The firing was kept up steadily for twenty hours.
The chips from that tree whizzed away like shav-
ings from a planing machine. A perfect sheet of
lead was constantly going over our breastworks.
Little by little the tree was worn away and finally
toppled down, although twenty inches in diameter.

In one of the skirmishes in which Mr. Bradley
was engaged, the balls from the guns of the
Yankees cut down a hornet's nest in the midst of
Mr. Bradley's lines, falling first on his head and
then dropping to the ground. When asked if he
was stung, his reply was: "I felt that I was stung
twice in every place."


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