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Near Locust Grove in Orange County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

“A Wild, Wicked Roar”

The Battle of the Wilderness

 
 
"A Wild, Wicked Roar" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 10, 2007
1. "A Wild, Wicked Roar" Marker
Inscription. The arrival of Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell’s Second Corps here along the Orange Turnpike on the morning of May 5 challenged the Union march through the Wilderness. The Federals responded with a massive attack.

At midday more than 12,000 Federal troops Federal troops moved forward on a jagged, mile-long front. The spearhead of the assault struck Ewell’s line here, on the western edge of Saunders Field. Three Union brigades rolled over the Confederates, plunging forward through thickets and brambles for nearly a half mile.

Ewell scrambled to rally his men, and soon a “wild, wicked roar” of musketry engulfed the Union lines. Without supports, the Federals stopped, then retreated. Thousands of blue-clad fugitives dashed back through Saunders Field – most of them faster than they had come.

After the attack here on May 5 the heaviest fighting would shift farther to the south, along the Orange Plank Road. There the Battle of the Wilderness would be decided.

Saunders Field burned on the afternoon of May 5.
“The clearing became a raging inferno, in which many of the wounded perished and the bodies of the dead were blackened and burned beyond all possibility of recognition, a tragic conclusion to this day of horror.”
- A man of the 146th New York
 
Erected by
Marker on Saunders Field image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 10, 2007
2. Marker on Saunders Field
The marker overlooks the field where the 140th New York charged Ewell's troops on May 5, 1864. Wilderness Exhibit Shelter is in the background, as well as the monument to the 140th New York State Vols (in the distant left).
Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park - National Park Service - Dept. of the Interior.
 
Location. 38° 18.963′ N, 77° 45.548′ W. Marker is near Locust Grove, Virginia, in Orange County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Hill-Ewell Drive and Constitution Highway (Virginia Route 20), on the left when traveling south. Click for map. The marker is in the Wilderness Battlefield, at Stop Three (Saunders Field) on the driving tour. Marker is in this post office area: Locust Grove VA 22508, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Confederate Line (here, next to this marker); Battle of the Wilderness (a few steps from this marker); The Confederate Defense (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); 140th New York State Vols. (about 700 feet away); First Blood in Saunders Field (approx. 0.2 miles away); Gordon Flank Attack Trail (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Wilderness (approx. 0.2 miles away); Saunders Field (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Locust Grove.
 
More about this marker. In the background of he marker is a picture of Union soldiers recovering their dead. The upper right of the marker shows a map of the Union Breakthrough of 1 p.m., May 5, 1864. The bottom
Markers overlooking Saunders Field image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain
3. Markers overlooking Saunders Field
Marker relocated in about 2011.
right of the marker features a photo of an earthwork, with the caption Ewell’s men took advantage of hills in the fighting to build these sturdy earthworks, the remains of which are behind you.
 
Also see . . .  Battle of the Wilderness. (Submitted on March 6, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Confederate Trenches - Ewell's Corps. image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 10, 2007
4. Confederate Trenches - Ewell's Corps.
Ewells men dug these trenches for the Battle of the Wilderness.
More Confederate earthworks image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 10, 2007
5. More Confederate earthworks
The Nation Park Service has placed walkways over the earthworks to help preserve them.
Saunders Field Tour Stop image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 10, 2007
6. Saunders Field Tour Stop
The “A Wild, Wicked Roar” marker is located at the Saunders Field Tour Stop.
Detail of Union Breakthrough Map image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 20, 2007
7. Detail of Union Breakthrough Map
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,235 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   3. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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