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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Fredericksburg in Spotsylvania County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Slaughter Pen Farm

Meade's Attack

 
 
Meade's Attack Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 25, 2009
1. Meade's Attack Marker
Inscription. With artillery projectiles flying in every direction, Union Gen. George G. Meade galloped through the fields in front of you, encouraged his men, and looked for an opportunity to attack. When Union artillery blew up two Confederate ammunition chests, Meade took the initiative and ordered his men to charge. His division surged toward Prospect Hill in front of you, where Confederate forces waited.

Meade's troops advanced directly into a 600-yard gap in the Confederate line left unmanned because the swampy ground was mistakenly deemed impassible. Union troops pushed through the swampy woods, wrecked two Confederate brigades, and expanded the size of the gap in the Southern line. Both sides became disorganized and scrambled to regroup. Meade needed reinforcements but none arrived in time. Out of ammunition and out of time, Meade's men found it impossible to hold on.

"I felt sorry for those poor Yankee soldiers as they marched into the very jaws of death."
- Confederate Soldier

"We were now well into the enemy's warm fire. ... The men inclined their heads somewhat as though moving against a driving rain."
-Pvt. Bates Alexander, 7th Pennsylvania Reserves, USA

(Sidebar Captions to the Left):
Under Photo of General Meade:
As his attack was faltering, Gen. George G. Meade called
Civil War Preservation Trust image. Click for more information.
2. Civil War Preservation Trust
Help preservation like the Slaughter Pen Farm.
Click for more information.
upon Gen. David Birney to bring up his division in support. When Birney failed to advance, the notoriously testy Meade rode to the rear and berated Birney in a tone that could "almost make the stones creep" underfoot. Birney hastily organized his division and pushed forward, but it was too little, too late.

Under Drawing of Gen. Gregg:
Confederate Gen. Maxcy Gregg had compiled an impressive record on numerous Civil War battlefields. Fredericksburg was his last. As Meade's men unleashed a devastating volley into Gregg's surprised South Carolina troops, Gregg received a bullet in the spine from which he died two days later.
 
Erected 2009 by Civil War Preservation Trust and Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 38° 15.712′ N, 77° 26.601′ W. Marker is near Fredericksburg, Virginia, in Spotsylvania County. Marker can be reached from Tidewater Trail (U.S. 17), on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Located on the Civil War Preservation Trust's Slaughter Pen Farm trail. Please obtain permission before entering the property. Call CWPT at (800) 298-7878. Marker is in this post office area: Fredericksburg VA 22408, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least
Close Up of the Battle Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 25, 2009
3. Close Up of the Battle Map
The north seeking arrow points to the bottom of the map.
8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Slaughter Pen Farm (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Slaughter Pen Farm (about 700 feet away); a different marker also named Slaughter Pen Farm (approx. 0.2 miles away); Battle of Fredericksburg (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Fredericksburg (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named The Slaughter Pen Farm (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Slaughter Pen Farm (approx. mile away); Colonial Fort (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Fredericksburg.
 
More about this marker. On the right is a map of the battlefield indicating the positions and movements in this sector as described in the text. In exploiting the supposedly impassible gap in the Confederate line, Meade put the Union army in position to win the battle. Franklin's failure to properly support Meade's assault, however, doomed the attack to failure.
 
Also see . . .  The Slaughter Pen Farm. Civil War Preservation Trust virtual tour of the Slaughter Pen Farm. (Submitted on July 27, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Third Wayside on the Slaughter Pen Farm Trail image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 25, 2009
4. Third Wayside on the Slaughter Pen Farm Trail
Meade's Attack Finds the Gap image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 25, 2009
5. Meade's Attack Finds the Gap
Looking to the southeast from the trail (at a point beyond the marker). Meade's attack drove over the railroad line that runs through the far wood line, and into the swampy bottom land beyond. While the bottom land is on the National Park Service property, the open field over which Meade's men advanced is partly an industrial park today.
Birney's Division in Support image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 25, 2009
6. Birney's Division in Support
Looking from the marker location back to the north east at US 17, which was the Bowling Green/Richmond Stage Road at the time of the battle. Birney's division stood by to support Meade along the road, then later advanced forward, belatedly, to the Confederate lines.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,130 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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