Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 14.djvu/539

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The Campaign from the Wilderness to Petersburg. 533

1 2th, thus rendering utterly futile the success achieved by Hancock's corps at daybreak, was a wonderful feat of arms, in which all the troops engaged deserve the greatest credit for endurance, constancy, and unflinching courage ; but without unjust discrimination, we may say that Gordon, Rodes and Ramseur were the heroes of this bloody day. General Lee recommended Gordon to be made Major-General of date 1 2th May. Rodes and Ramseur were destined, alas ! in a few short months, to lay down their noble lives in the Valley of Vir- ginia. There was no victor's chaplet more highly prized by the Ro- man soldier than that woven of the grass of early spring. Then let the earliest flowers of May always be intertwined in the garlands which the pious hands of our fair women shall lay on the tombs of Rodes and Ramseur and of the gallant dead of the battle of twenty hours at Spotsylvania.*

The captured angle, now useless to the enemy, was abandoned by them on the 14th. The attacks made on our lines by General Grant on the 14th and i8th were very easily repulsed. On the afternoon of the igth, General Lee sent Ewell with his corps to the north side of the narrow Ni river to attack the Federal trains and threaten Grant's line of communication with Fredericksburg. After Ewell crossed, and was already engaged with Tyler's division of the enemy, guard- ing the trains, General Lee became aware for the first time that on account of the difficulties of the way through the flats on the river he had not taken his artillery with him. He was rendered uneasy by this, and sent orders to General Early to extend his left, so as to close up, as far as practicable, the gap between his corps and General Ewell's. Fortunately, General Hampton, who accompanied Ewell with his cavalry brigade, carried with him a battery of horse artil- lery, and did good service in relieving the difficulties of General Ewell's situation. In this movement some execution was done on some of Grant's newly arrived reinforcements before they were rein- forced by troops from the Second and Fifth corps. General Ewell withdrew to the south side of the Ni without much loss. This affair delayed the contemplated turning movement of the Federal army for twenty-four hours.

On the night of the 20th of May, having discovered, after twelve

  • The question has been asked since the war why General Lee sent no

telegram to Richmond concerning this battle of May 12th. He did send such a telegram to the War Department. Of its further historj' I know nothing.