September 19, 1863
Viniard Farm Gully
Although now a creek, at the time the gully was dry. The reforming Yankees repulsed Confederates attacks from their gully position, and attempts to flank them were stopped by Wilder's brigade of mounted infantry equipped with repeating rifles as they sortied from their position at the treeline visible in the center of the picture.
The Confederates finally pushed the Yankees from the gully, but Wilder's repeating rifles prevented any further advance. When Wilder brought up artillery in the field on the right of the picture to enfilade the gully, the Confederates took heavy losses and fled. The Union right was safe.
The prominent road shown here is the Lafayette Road. The Brotherton Road intersects it on the left of the picture, and the Brotherton cabin is on the far right of the picture. Confederate exploitation of a gap between the Union southern flank and center almost meant disaster near the Viniard House. It also lead to the Union center being pushed back here to the Brotherton Farm. By late afternoon, the Union line ran south along Brotherton Road, then pivoted at the Brotherton cabin and extended along the ridge roughly paralleling the Lafayette Road.
Southern End of Brotherton Field
Although on higher ground and supported by 20 guns, the Union position here was weak. Confederates could pick off Union troops from the relative safety of the woods, and the gap between the Union center and right still existed. Confederates flanked the Union line in the woods on the right of the picture and also advanced directly on the position, forcing the Yankees from the field and capturing two guns. Although foiled to the south, the Confederates had a breakthrough in the Union center.
With the Union position at the Brotherton Field collapsed, the Confederates attempted to expand the breakthrough. Rebels of Bate's brigade advanced north up Lafayette Road, visible on the right of the picture toward a line of twenty guns and rallied infantry. The Federal line extended from the cannon on the left of the picture through the modern intersection and down the park service road. Approaching from the far end of the field near the large Georgia monument, the Confederates were blasted back with canister, losing nearly a third of their number.
Union reinforcements sealed off the breakthrough at the Brotherton Farm, ending the first day's fighting. The Confederates had gained some ground, but the fighting was inconclusive despite the very real potential of a decisive victory. Had they had reserves to commit late in the day, the Confederates could have gained a great victory. Bragg decided to continue the attack on the 20th.
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