Union Attack and Breakthrough Part 2
June 1, 1864
View From Clingman's Line
Clingman's Confederate brigade of Hoke's division was entrenched along this treeline facing the open field. Their left flank was refused on the slope above a ravine, the beginning of which is visible on the left. To their left, Hagood's brigade had been withdrawn from a somewhat advanced position and moved south to extend the Confederate flank to Boatswains Creek. But Clingman was never told, and the sizeable gap in the Confederate line was not filled.
Eustis's brigade was to attack with their left roughly along the Cold Harbor Road, just beyond the buildings on the right of the picture, but they did not attack on schedule. Although he was ordered to guide on Eustis's brigade, Upton and the units north of him advanced anyway. Upton's brigade approached Clingman's position in four successive lines, the first three of which were composed of Col. Kellogg's 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery serving as infantry and the fourth made of the remnants of the rest of his brigade. As would happen elsewhere, the untested heavy artillerymen proved too eager to prove their bravery to the comrades who had taunted them, and they consequentially suffered greatly for little gain. Col. Kellogg was killed trying to lead his men through a gap in the abatis, and the advance stalled.
Touring Advice: (For fall through spring when underbrush is lighter!) As you exit the national park you can see Boatswain's Road on the left. You can pull in and park there. Walk back along the park service road then take a right up the slope and into the woods toward the park's eastern boundary. You will find at least two lines of entrenchments near the boundary. Presumably the easternmost is the Confederate June 1st line while the one not far to the west, just downhill, must have been made by the Union troops who captured the rebel line. You can tell because of the fields of fire. As you walk north along the lines, the fields to your right were crossed by the attacking Union troops. As you approach the ravine you will find entrenchments which bend back toward the park road. This must be Clingman's refused left flank. The site of Hagood's advanced abandoned line appears to be on private property. You can explore the ravine further or follow the refused flank back to the park road.
Note: Various books incorrectly show the June 1st Confederate line at its June 3rd position near the park entrance. The Micheler map shows how the Confederate line bows in along the Cold Harbor Road. If you make a straight line between the northern and southern sections of the Confederate line, through this bow you will find a line of entrenchments in Union territory. This was the June 1st Confederate line. You can see Clingman's refused flank and three parallel lines to its northeast. Presumably at least one of these was Hagood's abandoned line.
Clingman's Refused Flank
Not knowing that Hagood had withdrawn, Confederates along Clingman's refused flank did not immediately fire on the advancing Yankees, believing them to be their comrades.
Union Breakthrough in Lower Ravine
Union troops poured through the gap in the ravine and into the Confederate rear. Clingman's refused flank came under pressure from front and rear and fell back. Meanwhile Upton continued to apply pressure. Further north, the Confederates of Wofford's brigade experienced similar problems as Yankees poured around their unprotected right flank. Only Confederate reinforcements and rapidly approaching darkness prevented a complete Confederate disaster. Union troops dug in during the night while the Confederates withdrew to a new line and dug in. This formed the concave line which would stymie the Union VI Corps on June 3rd.
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