General view of the battlefield looking west from the Confederate lines
With McLaws in full retreat Couch was able to get his II Corps rallied and back into the safety of the entrenchments. It had been a close run thing with the Rebs managing to penetrate to within half a mile of Union HQ causing Hooker a few anxious moments, but now the crisis had passed and the flank had held.
McLaws Divison beats a hasty retreat pursued by the Yanks
Lee ordered Anderson and McLaws to disengage and form a new line about a mile east of Couch. This time it was Dave’s turn to feel nervous and he even took the precaution of moving his HQ a few hundred yards further south. However, he needn’t have worried because Couch’s forces were in no condition to counter-attack. Both sides have taken heavy losses and it doesn’t look likely that we’ll see any further fighting on this flank anytime soon.
Lee's new defensive posture on the Rebel right flank
Dave was being much less cautious on the opposite flank however where he ordered Colston to renew the attack of Slocum’s position in the woods southeast of the Maury House. Hunt was able to pound the advancing Confederates with his Grand Battery for a while but they soon passed out of sight of the guns and entered the relative safety of the tree line.
Colston's Divison advances
The Union forces here, although entrenched, had been weakened during the fighting on May 1st. To the obvious surprise of General Lee, the Rebels swept over the works and chased Slocum’s men deep into the woods leaving Hookers right flank wide open. It remains to be seen if Colston has the strength left to exploit this unexpected success!
To everyone's surprise Colston storms the Union entrenchments
But now for the bit you’ve all been waiting for – Jackson! In the last post Dave explained how he opted to bring on Jackson’s eight brigades at the historical point of entry by Wilderness Church. It was quite a sobering sight for Howard’s XI corps as the grey horde threatened to engulf their line. The situation wasn’t helped by the fact that an order had just arrived from Hooker ordering Howard to move his command towards Hazel Grove. With part of the corps in column of march, and part deployed to face the enemy, things didn’t look good at all…
Jackson's Corps attacks!
…and then by a minor miracle, Howard countermanded the march order, swung his boys back into a rough line and blasted away at the Rebels with rifles and canister causing three of A P Hill's four leading brigades to fail their morale tests and stop in their tracks! Only on the extreme right flank did Jackson have any success where Krzyzanowski’s “Dutchmen” were charged and routed. The next turn it was more of the same and this time two Confederate brigades routed – Jackson’s whole front line had been broken up by Von Steinwehr’s green Union Division!
A P Hill's broken Divsion stream back to the rear through the ranks of Rodes men
At the end of Turn 25 (12.00 noon) the army demoralisation levels are now 4 for the Confederates and 3 for the Union (the first side to reach 8 will lose the battle). After five playing sessions and 25 turns incredibly this battle could still go either way…
To view a map of the battlefield click here.