Spotsylvania - Upton's Attack Part 2
May 10, 1864
Confederate Reserve Line
While Upton's first line moved to the flanks, additional Union lines moved on the Confederate reserve trenchline. This is the view from behind this line. The clump of woods in the middleground were larger at the time of the battle and extended towards the left of the picture. The main Confederate fortified line taken by Upton was behind these woods, and the woods in the background were Upton's jump off point.
Confederate forces began to react to the penetration. The brigades of Battle and Evans moved on Upton from the left while Walker's Stonewall brigade moved in from the right with additional troops moving in between the flanks near reserve trench line.
From Near the McCoull House
Like at the Wilderness, General Lee wanted to come to the front to lead his troops, but his staff convinced him to go to the rear. The McCoull House was located near the park service sign on the right of the picture. From here you can see the reserve line where much of the action took place.
Here again from another angle you can see by the road and the entrenchments that the Confederate line formed a slight salient near the point of attack. You can also make out the subtle low area Upton advanced through. After penetration, the Federals that had pivoted right and advanced along the line soon captured the battery posted near here which had fired into their flank. The battery is represented by the guns visible on the right of the picture. On the extreme right of the picture, a perpendicular trench extends to the rear to the reserve line. Reinforcing Confederates of Battle's brigade clashed with Upton's men along the perpendicular trench, and casualties mounted quickly here. The deadlock was broken when one Confederate regiment crossed the main line of entrenchments and advanced along them, threatening the Yankees' escape route.
Upton's attacking brigade briefly advanced beyond the Confederate reserve line, but the attack sputtered to a halt, and the Federals withdrew that night. Casualties in the fight are not entirely known. Confederate Second Corps commander Richard Ewell claimed to have lost 650 men, 350 of them captured, but the Yankees claimed to have captured 1,000 men. Upton is thought to have lost 1,000 men, and the 49th Pa. on the first line suffered almost 50% casualties. Perhaps we will never know, as Grant had ordered casualty information not taken for fear that public knowledge would end the campaign. The rest of the VI Corps didn't move to support Upton, and Mott's division closer to the apex of the Mule Shoe was unable to give much help. Had the assault started earlier and been well supported, it could have succeeded. Knowing this, Grant planned a massive assault for the 12th.
topo map Upton attacked the lines about where "Trench" is on the western side of the salient. The "Ruins" are the McCoul House.
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