The Wilderness - Orange Turnpike Fight - May 6, 1864
American Battlefield Trust’s map of the Battle of the Wilderness - Orange Turnpike Fight on May 6, 1864.
As they had all day on May 5, the Confederate Second Corps of Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell Were positioned across the Orange Turnpike in the Wilderness. While nearly three miles to the south Lt. Gen. A. P. Hill's Third Corps defended a position along the Orange Plank Road.
While an early morning massive Union attack along the Orange Plank Road gave way to a late morning Confederate counterattack, the Orange Turnpike sector of the Wilderness battlefield remained largely silent. A short-lived Union offensive north of Saunders Field gave the Confederates confidence that they could attack the Union right flank, and drive the enemy off of the field.
Late on May 6, a flank attack on the Union right by Brig. Gen. John B. Gordon’s Georgia brigade, supported by Brig, Gen. Robert D. Johnston’s North Carolina regiments, dislodged the Union flank. With darkness creeping across the battlefield, and too few soldiers to sustain the offensive, the Confederate attack ground to a halt as the units became disorganized in the tangled woods north of Saunders Field.
Learn More: The Battle of the Wilderness
Each of these battles is a piece in the puzzle of the larger strategies that characterized the final year of the war. But if we don’t act swiftly...