Saturday, August 4, 2012

Historicon 2012 - Spotsylvania Battlefield

So here I was thinking I knew a lot about the Bloody Angle but found that I really didn't have my facts straight.  Julie and I were able to get a tour of the Angle from one of the excellent rangers there at the park.

Until I came here my idea of the Angle was just that.  A 90 degree reverent built into the Confederate defenses but that wasn't true at all.  The battle took place around a Mule's Shoe or horseshoe shaped defense works.  Lee knowing these would fall through everything into the defenses while he built a defensive line about a 1/4 of a mile back that crossed or connected the open end of the shoe.

This is where the famous shouts for Lee to the Rear came from his troops when he was trying to lead reinforcements to another Union breakthrough across their lines.

So why was the angle so important?  It was part of the trench and it was at a curve in the lines.  Almost like a small bulge.  And when you stand there you can see what they were talking about.  This part of the angle was elevated and if you could take this point then you could see hundreds of yards in both directions over the Rebel's defensive works.  It was definitely the high ground and a key to breaking into the shoe.

Anyway, something like 17,000 men died at that spot alone.  Incredible.  And there is a small ravine right in front of the defenses that the Union troops took cover in to regroup and kept attacking.  And of course there was Burnside, after hearing about him throughout the war I call him Bloody Burnside.  Not sure he had any sense except to throw men into the frontal attacks.  Anyway, that is my opinion.

So hear are some pictures.  Sorry for the little history lesson, I know all of you out there know more about this battle than me.  But at this Historicon plus all of these battles around here, I picked up so much knowledge and just was excited to share.  Enjoy the pictures.


So you can see the ravine in the picture.  This was full of Union Troops pressing the attack on the MuleShoe.  And I was told that the Rebels normally built their trenches along a tree line as you can see on this plaque and in the pictures below.

There were only a few memorials to the Regiments that fought and died here.

Bridge to cross the trench line.

Standing at the Angle this is looking down the left Rebel flank of the Shoe.  Notice your elevation

Our Ranger at the Angle and you can see the right Rebel flank at the lower level.

Here is looking down the line

Looking down the meadows along the left flank of the Shoe where Upton attacked and broke through.

Upton's attack came from those Trees

Lee to the Rear!

This last picture was to provide you with a sense of the surrounding woods.  Just to right off to the side of the road was a small path.  This small path was guarded by Rebel Skirmishers.  When Upton's skirmish line arrived there was a small firefight which cleared the path.  Upton took his brigade through this path which was only several feet wide.  This ran them all the way to the meadow where he broke into the Rebel defenses but was repulsed due to no reserve.

No comments: