Following the Battle of the Wilderness, Lieut. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant marched the Union army south with the hope of capturing Spotsylvania Court House and preventing Robert E. Lee's army from retreating further. Lee, however, managed to get ahead of the Federals and blocked their pusuit. Fighting began on May 8, when the Union V Corps under Maj. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren and the VI Corps under Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick engaged Confederate Maj. Gen. Richard Anderson's First Corps at Laurel Hill. Sedgwick was killed by a Confederate sharpshooter. The Rebels held the hill and extended their lines further east into a “mule shoe” shaped salient. On May 10, Grant attacked the entire line with elements of four Union army corps, adding Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside's IX Corps to the fight on the Confederate right. Early on the morning of May 12, the Union II Corps under Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock attacked the salient in some of the most violent fighting of the war. Burnside on the Union left and Warren on the right attacked as well. Timely Confederate reinforcements constructed a new defensive line. Bloody hand-to-hand fighting continued as both sides shifted their lines to the southeast. Grant attacked again on May 18 and Lee attacked May 19 at the Harris Farm. Lee withdrew to the North Anna River the next day, beginning the next phase of the Overland Campaign.