Journal of Maj. Gen.
Gouverneur K. Warren, U. S. Army,
Commanding Fifth Army Corps
MAY 4---JUNE 12, 1864---Campaign from the Rapidan to the James River, Va
HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY CORPS,
November 7, 1864.
At midnight, the commencement of May 4, the Fifth Army Corps marched out from the vicinity of Culpeper and took the road direct through Stevensburg to Germanna Ford. Head of the column reached there at 6 a.m., and began crossing at 7 a.m., as soon as General Wilson's cavalry division had cleared the bridges. The corps was all across by 1 p.m., and moving on bivouacked at Old Wilderness Tavern, General Griffin's division holding the road leading to Robertson's Tavern. The cavalry, which had been out nearly to this point, were all withdrawn by General Wilson, and the cavalry went on to Parker's Store.
May 5.--Set out according to orders 6 a.m. toward Parker's Store--Crawford, Wadsworth, Robinson; enemy reported close at hand in force, and when Crawford had nearly reached Parker's, Generals Meade and Grant arrived and determined to attack the force on the road near Griffin. Wadsworth was immediately gotten in line to left of Griffin with one brigade of Crawford, Robinson in support. We attacked with this force impetuously, carried the enemy's line, but being outflanked by a whole division of the enemy was compelled to fall back to our first position, leaving two guns on the road between the lines which had been advanced to take advantage of the first success The horses were shot and the guns removed between our lines. The attack failed because Wright's division, of the Sixth Corps, was unable on account of the woods to get up on our right flank and meet the division (Johnson's) that flanked us. Wright became engaged sometime afterward. We lost heavily in this attack, and the thick woods caused much confusion in our lines. The enemy did not pursue us in the least. We had encountered the whole of Ewell's corps. The enemy that moved on past Parker's along the plank road was Hill's corps. General Getty's division, of the Sixth Corps, was sent to the intersection of the Brock road to check the column, which it did, and General Hancock was ordered up from Todd's Tavern, and also engaged Hill's corps. At this time I sent General Wadsworth with his division and Baxter's brigade to attack Hill's left flank as he engaged Hancock. It was late when this was ordered, but the attack produced considerable impression. Wadsworth's men slept on their arms where night overtook them. During the night I sent instructions to Wadsworth to form in line northeast and southwest, and go straight through, and orders were to attack next morning at 4.30 o'clock with the whole army, General Burnside being expected to be up by that time to take part. With the rest of my force I prepared again to attack Ewell in conjunction with a part of the Sixth Corps. The hour of attack was changed to 5 a.m., and at precisely 5 a.m. May 6 the fighting began. General Wadsworth I re-enforced with Colonel Kitching, 2,400 strong. He fought his way entirely across the Second Corps' front to the south side of the plank road, and wheeling round commenced driving them up the plank road toward Orange Court-House. The accumulating force of the enemy staggered his advance, and the line became confused in the dense woods. In the very van of the fight General Wadsworth was killed by a bullet through his head, and General Baxter was wounded. On our right the enemy was found to be intrenched and but little impression could be made. I then sent another brigade to sustain General Hancock, who had now two of my divisions and one of the Sixth Corps, and was defending himself from both Hill and Longstreet. They charged and took possession of part of his line, but were driven out again. Late in the evening the enemy turned General Sedgwick's right very unexpectedly, and threw most of his command into confusion. I sent General Crawford at double-quick, and the line was restored by him. General Burnside did not get into position at all in time in the morning; fought but little during the day, and but slightly affected the result of the day's battle, which in most respects was a drawn battle.
May 7.--Our army took up defensive positions, and spent the time getting our commands again together, detached to defend parts of the field to meet the varying emergencies of the previous days' battles. At 9 p.m. the army began to move toward Spotsylvania Court-House, the Fifth Corps having the advance, on the Brock road. We were delayed about one and one-half hours by the cavalry escort to General Meade, and on reaching a point 2 miles beyond Todd's Tavern were delayed about three hours by Torbert's cavalry endeavoring to clear the way for us. They gave it up about 6 a.m. May 8, and got out of our way. General Robinson's division immediately went forward, lead by himself. He at once cleared out the enemy's cavalry and the wood with which they had obstructed the road, and advancing rapidly struck the advance of Longstreet's corps near the Block house. This we forced back till we gained a good position, and were compelled then to await re-enforcements. General Sedgwick's corps was sent up to crush out Longstreet, and his rank gave him the command. So much time was lost, however, that night came before more than one of the brigades had become engaged, and that but slightly. General Crawford's division, however, attacked the enemy, captured a color, and many prisoners.
May 9.--The Sixth Corps all took position on my right, and we intrenched. Had a brisk skirmish at night to force the enemy's pickets back. General Sedgwick killed in the morning.
May 10.--General Hancock, advancing from Todd's Tavern, crossed the Po, and threatened to turn the enemy's position. This brought out a part of Hill's corps from the intrenchments. Unfortunately, however, it had been decided to re-enforce my right with the Second Corps and assault the intrenchments, which caused Hancock to recross the Po and leave the open field to the enemy. I began pushing my skirmishers forward at once in very heavy force to drive the enemy to his main line, so as to deploy our heavy force close to him for the assault. This occasioned some heavy fighting. Toward evening two assaults were made with a part of my corps and Gibbon's division and a part of Birney's, but failed to carry the enemy's works, which were defended by musketry and flanked by canister. Loss heavy. General Rice killed.
May 11.--Army mostly lay quiet, straightening matters out and preparing for next day's operations. After dark General Hancock moved his entire command to our left, preparatory to an assault at daylight.
May 12.--At daybreak General Hancock surprised Johnson s division in his lines and captured nearly all of it, with eighteen pieces of artillery. Enemy fought furiously to regain them. General Wright attacked near the Second Corps with two divisions. I also again assailed the enemy's intrenchments, suffering heavy loss, but failing to get in. The enemy's direct and flank fire was too destructive. Lost very heavily. The enemy continuing to fire [on] the Second and Sixth Corps [I was] compelled to withdraw Griffin's and Cutler's divisions and send [them] to the left to their support, where they again became engaged. My whole front was held by Crawford's division and Colonel Kitching and the Maryland Brigade, presenting a line of battle not as strong as a single rank. The enemy made no serious effort to force it. My divisions on the left were relieved during the night from their position, and returned to the right in the morning, having been kept awake nearly all night, which was rainy.
May 13.--Worked all day getting command in hand and constructing a shorter defense line preparatory to moving to the left of General Burnside, who was on the road from Fredericksburg to Spotsylvania Court-House. Got orders to set out in the evening for the left, mass our troops, and attack the enemy at daybreak. Got my command started as soon as possible, which was not before 9.30 p.m., leaving on all my picket force. We marched all night through rain and mud, forded the Ny River once, and over routes none of us had traveled before. The night was intensely dark, and many of the men, from exhaustion and weariness, gave out; the line became disjointed and parts lost their way. The greatest pains were taken to mark the line by posting mounted men, but it was impossible through the swamps and dense forests and pitchy darkness.
May 14.--At 4 a.m. I was at the appointed place with about 1,000 men, and all that could be done was to assault the enemy's cavalry on a commanding position on our left, which we did and took. It required the whole day to get my command up and together again. A brigade of the Sixth Corps was sent to hold the hill, which we had taken, but the enemy drove it off. After that I had it retaken with Ayres' brigade. During the day my pickets were withdrawn, and the enemy's cavalry got into our hospitals before the wounded were gotten off, but they did no damage. They were unable to capture any of our trains.
May 15.--Spent in getting affairs in order. In evening General Burnside threatened with an attack. My troops under arms to attack as a diversion, if needed. Rained heavily in afternoon. May 16.--Remained mostly quiet in lines, getting up stores and supplies, and awaiting developments. Cut out road and position for batteries.
May 17.--Took up lines and intrenched so that we could hold our position alone, and allow the rest of the army to be used elsewhere. Whole army moved to the right in the night.
May 18.--Whole army having moved off to our right to make an assault on the enemy, I commenced a cannonade at daylight with twenty-six guns, as a diversion. This occasioned a brisk artillery duel between myself and Hill's corps. Our forces found the enemy prepared and strongly posted on the right, and made no serious attack. Colonel Coulter, commanding brigade, badly wounded to-day. Our army moved back to where it was day before.
May 19.--All our forces took up position on my left. This brought out General Ewell's corps, who attempted to turn our right. He was repulsed by Colonel Kitching's brigade, the Maryland Brigade, and Tyler's division, Crawford's and Birney's divisions coming up as support, but not used. Killed and wounded considerable. Rained in the afternoon.
May 20.--Remained in quiet at the Beverly house straightening out, burying the dead, &c.; no demonstrations made by the enemy.
May 21.--Artillery began to move at 10 a.m. Sent orders to Crawford to move at that time too, without waiting for Russell. Head of Russell's column reached Anderson's house at 10.15 a.m. Rear of Crawford's, Kitching's, and Maryland Brigade, and artillery passed at 11.30 a.m. Enemy fired about this time a few shots and stood to arms. My headquarters set out 12 m. Generals Griffin and Cutler began to move at same time. Reached Guiney's Bridge about 5.30 p.m. Drove enemy's cavalry back toward Thornburg and to the south as far as Madison's Ordinary. Orders changed three times during the night; kept me up all the time.
May 22.--Sent a brigade early out to the westward, which reached Telegraph road at 8 a.m. Mr. Pound said Ewell's and Longstreet's corps had marched south along Telegraph road all night. Received this information at 8.20 a.m.; at the same time orders came for us to move to Harris' Store, indicating that news of enemy's retreat had already reached headquarters. Began march at 10 a.m. Struck enemy's cavalry at Littleton Flippo's. Ran them off toward Chilesburg. Griffin reached Doctor Flippo's about 3 a.m. and camped there. Cutler reached Harris' Store at 5 p.m.
May 23.--General Cutler's division leading, got off promptly at 5 a.m. Reached forks, where one road goes to the ford and one to the bridge, at 9 a.m. Cavalry skirmishing a little in advance. A deserter says it is Rosser's cavalry; says there is artillery and infantry on the other side. Turned back to give that road to Hancock and got possession of crossing at a mill at l p.m. By 3.10 p.m. General Griffin's division had nearly all forded, and at 3.10 bridge train began to arrive. About 4.30 bridge was completed and last of General Cutler's division crossed. About 6 a.m. enemy assaulted us. My right gave way and the artillery drove back the enemy. We repulsed them everywhere.
May 24.--Spent all night getting in order, strengthening position, issuing rations, &c. At 6 a.m. found out for certain that enemy had left my front. During the day found enemy about 3 to 4 miles off down the river and received orders late at night to go early next morning with my corps and develop the position.
May 25.--Spent all day at hard work getting into position in front of enemy's line and driving in his light troops to his main force. Found Hill's corps intrenched between North Anna and Little River. Lost about 150 men and officers during the day.
May 26.--Heavy rain in morning about 7 a.m. Remained in position all day. Rained in afternoon. At dark began to recross the North Anna River at Quarles' Mills. Roads heavy and slippery with mud and approaches to stream bad. All not over till near daylight.
May 27.--Had to wait head of column for Sixth Corps to cross and pass until 2 a.m. Spent time issuing rations. Got off about daylight, trains following about 9 a.m. Troops made a long march. I camped 2 miles from Mangohick Church. Trains strung back in the road for many miles. Day very warm.
May 28.--Marched to Hanovertown. Crossed the river and took up position from Totopotomoy to Mrs. Newton's.
May 29.--Moved out of position of yesterday as far as Norman's. General Griffin's division crossed Totopotomoy and advanced toward Shady Grove about 1 miles, with some considerable skirmishing.
May 30.--Pushed General Griffin forward toward Shady Grove, driving back Rodes' skirmishers. The enemy continually threatened our left from the road leading to Mechanicsville, so that General Crawford sent a force across to drive them away. This developed a force of the enemy near Bethesda Church, which forced him back. The enemy followed but were checked. They finally made a determined assault on us, but were repulsed with much loss.
May 31.--Remained nearly quiet in the line of battle. Pushed skirmishers forward about 1 mile, without opposition, beyond Bethesda Church. Pennsylvania Reserves return an adjutant-general and inspector-general of Second Division lost.
June 1.--Moved out to develop the enemy's position. Found him intrenched with large space of clear ground in front swept by artillery. Lost about 200 men killed and wounded, and extended the line very much, 4 to 5 miles. Enemy attacked us in several places, and quite severely on the right just before dark. Large body of recruits, &c., arrived under Colonel Cesnola.
June 2.--Ordered with Ninth Corps to close in to the left preparatory to a grand attack on the left. Enemy attacked us while moving, and, owing to the sudden giving way of the Ninth Corps, got in rear of Ayres' brigade on its right flank and cut off the skirmish line. Had quite a sharp fight and drove them back. Attack suspended until next morning.
June 3.--Whole army attacked. Fifth and Ninth Corps drove the enemy back on the right and found themselves confronting men of three of the enemy's corps. Attack suspended in afternoon, owing to all our efforts being repulsed on our left. Union loss about 5,000 killed and wounded.
June 4.--In morning found the enemy had left the position opposite the Ninth Corps, on my right; so they shifted over to my left, leaving me in charge of the right, connecting with the cavalry. Commenced raining in the evening. Colonel Gibson came in with large body of recruits, and General Burnside moved his corps down to my left between me and Smith's.
June 5.--Remained in position quietly all day. Made reconnaissance out on Shady Grove road and found the enemy well back. In the night withdrew my corps to the rear in reserve, and was on the road all night.
June 6.--Day very warm. Spent in camp putting things in order. Re-established a division for Ayres. Extract from a Richmond newspaper:
Official telegram from General Lee.
The following from General Lee contains the latest official information received at the War Department:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
June 6, 1864--8.30 p.m.
Honorable SECRETARY OF WAR:
There has been very little skirmishing on the lines to-day. It was discovered early this morning that the enemy had withdrawn from the front of General Early on our left, and from the most of the front of General Anderson on the center.
R. E. LEE,
I certify that this is a correct copy, put in here to show what a large force I had contended with.
G. K. WARREN.
June 7.--Sent two divisions to extreme left to picket the Chickahominy--Griffin's and Cutler's. Held Ayres and Crawford in readiness to support General Burnside.
June 8.--Remained quiet. Rode with General Meade out to Allen's Mill, Old Church, and Ruffin's. Newspaper correspondent drummed out.
June 9.--Remained in camp all day. General Barnard came to see me.
June 10.--Remained in camp. Continued very dry and dusty, but cool. Took a ride along our lines in the evening.
June 11.--Went with all the corps except Griffin and Cutler to Moody's, south of railroad, preparatory for further movements.
June 12.--General Grant and General Meade reached my headquarters at 5.30 p.m. Corps started at 6 p.m. Reached vicinity of Long Bridge before dark. Wilson's cavalry got over at 10 p.m. Bridge finished at 1 a.m.
Report of guns captured and lost by the Fifth Army Corps, from May 4 to November 1, 1864.
Lost: Two light 12-pounders, by Battery D, First New York Artillery, May 6, 1864, at the Wilderness, Va.
Captured: One 3-inch rifled gun, by the First Division, September 30, 1864, at Poplar Spring.
G. K. WARREN,
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