Wilderness Battlefield

Lt. Gen. Richard S. Swell's Second Corps
The arrival of Lt. Gen. Richard S. Swell's Second Corps here along the Orange Turnpike on the morning of May 5 challenged the Union march through the Wilderness. The Federals responded with a massive attack.
At midday more than 12,000 Federal troops moved forward on a jagged, mile-long front. The spearhead of the assault struck Ewell's line here, on the western edge of Saunders Field. Three Union brigades rolled over the Confederates, plunging forward through thickets and brambles
for nearly a half mile. Ewell scrambled to rally his men, and soon a "wild, wicked roar" of musketry engulfed the Union lines. Without supports, the Federals stopped, then retreated. Thousands of blue-clad fugitives dashed back through Saunders Field — most of them faster than they had come.
After the attack here on May 5 the heaviest fighting would shift farther to the south, along the Orange Plank Road. There the Battle of the Wilderness would be decided.
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