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Wikipedia Description: Battle of North Anna
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Battle of North Anna was fought from May 23 to May 26, 1864, as part of Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's Overland Campaign against Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. It was fought in central Virginia as small actions in a number of locales, rather than a general engagement between the armies, so individual actions are sometimes named directly: Telegraph Road Bridge and Jericho Mill (for actions on May 23); Ox Ford, Quarles Mill, and Hanover Junction (May 24).
After the fighting at Spotsylvania Court House, on the night of May 20, 1864, Grant sent the II Corps under Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock from Spotsylvania to Milford Station, where he was to take a position on the west bank of the Mattaponi River and attack the Confederates wherever he encountered them. Grant was hoping that Lee would take the bait of an isolated Union corps and attack it, drawing the Confederates out into the open, where they could be attacked.
Union cavalry forces under Brig. Gen. Alfred Torbert drove out a small force of Confederate infantry at Milford Station. Confederate cavalry under Maj. Gen. Wade Hampton warned General Lee of this movement. Lee realized that it was merely the beginning of another Union attempt to turn his right flank and get between his army and Richmond. He began to shift his troops to the south bank of the Po River, but when the remaining Union forces— V Corps under Maj. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren, IX Corps under Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside (who was now assigned to the Army of the Potomac under the direct command of Maj. Gen. George G. Meade), and VI Corps under Maj. Gen. Horatio G. Wright—withdrew from Spotsylvania on May 21, Lee ordered a retreat south to the North Anna River. Grant's original plan to trap Lee was foiled, primarily because Grant grew nervous about leaving Hancock in an isolated position and he moved the remainder of the Army of the Pot ...More...
Specific picture descriptions: Photos above with "i" icons next to the bracketed sequence numbers (e.g. " ") are described as follows:
NANNA_050411_055.JPG: These well-preserved trench lines were occupied by Confederate defenders during the battle. Ambrose Burnside's men had been told to cross the river but we held back because of skirmishes with Confederate troops and sharpshooters, giving the Confederates time to complete their earthworks.
The first unit of the Union Ninth Corps to cross the North Anna was Brigadier General James H. Ledlie's brigade. His 1,500 infantrymen were ready to advanced by 3:00pm, despite having been soaked up to their armpits while crossing the river. Unfortunately for the Federals, one of the worst generals in the Union army commanded them. Ledlie had commanded the brigade for only seven days and had obtained little knowledge of his men. Worse, the general had consumed a large amount of whiskey and was dreadfully drunk when he led his men into battle. When he approached the Confederate trenches, Ledlie routed. The survivors hurriedly returned to the relative safety of Ledlie's main battle line.
Ledlie, still drunk, decided to try harder. Against the orders of his division commander, the drunken general ordered his unsupported brigade to assault another portion of the Confederate trenches. Mahone's Confederates allowed the Federals to advance well into the field and, when Ledlie's soldiers were within two hundred yards, opened on them with a deadly artillery and rifle fire. As rain from a heavy thunderstorm burst into their faces, Ledlie's men took shelter from the Confederate fire in a ravine.
"After proceeding a short distance, all semblance of a line became lost. It was just a wild tumultuous rush where the more reckless were far to the front and the cautious ones scattered along back, but still coming on... Many of the Confederate soldiers stood upon their breastworks and called out in a tantalizing manner, 'Come on Yank, come on to Richmond' ." -- Captain John Anderson, 57th Massachusetts Infantry
As the imperiled Union brigade huddled in the ravine, General Mahone recognized that their bold assault was unsupported and ordered General Harris to send a regiment from the Confederate trenches to attack them. At 6:45pm, the 12th Mississippi came out of its earthworks and ran down the slope, firing a volley at point blank range. Simultaneously, the 8th and 11th Alabama hit the exposed Union right flank. Ledlie's men broke for the safety of the trees behind them. Several Union commanders tried to rally their men but to no avail. The most prominent among them, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Chandler of the 57th Massachusetts, fell mortally wounded into the muddy ravine. Colonel Merry B. Harris, commanding the 12th Mississippi, ordered Chandler brought into the Confederate line, where he died only hours later.
NANNA_050411_118.JPG: This stop indicates the location of the Inverted V.
You are now standing in the tip of the famous "Inverted V" position constructed by Lee's army along the North Anna River. The trenches to your left continued to the Little River, while those on the right anchored on a bend in the North Anna below Hanover Junction. This area was held by Brigadier General Ambrose "Rans" Wright's Georgia brigade which assisted in repelling Ledlie's brigade on the evening of May 24. The 2nd Georgia Infantry Battalion of Wright's brigade held back the left flank of the Union line until Colonel Harris' 12th Mississippi Infantry crushed the Union center.
NANNA_050411_133.JPG: Down there is the North Anna River
NANNA_050411_149.JPG: This is the Ox Ford Road which helped the Confederates reinforce their positions.
NANNA_050411_164.JPG: This monument honors all of the valiant men who lost their lives on the battlefields of the North Anna, May 23-26, 1864.
"No more shall the war cry sever, or the winding rivers be red; they banish our anger forever when they laurel the graves of our dead! Under the sod and the dew, waiting the judgement day, love and tears for the blue, tears and love for the gray."
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2005 photos: Equipment this year: I used four cameras -- two Fujifilm S7000 cameras (which were plagued by dust inside the lens), a new Fujifilm S5200 (nice but not great and I hated the proprietary xD memory chips), and a Canon PowerShot S1 IS (returned because it felt flimsy to me). I gave my Epson camera to my catsitter. Both of the S7000s were in for repairs over Christmas.
Trips this year: Florida (for Lotusphere), a driving trip down south (seeing sites in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia), Williamsburg, and Chicago.
Number of photos taken this year: 147,000.