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Near Locust Grove in Orange County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
First Blood in Saunders Field
The Battle of the Wilderness
 
First Blood in Saunders Field Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, November 10, 2007
1. First Blood in Saunders Field Marker
The marker is located at the west end of the Tour Stop 2 parking lot.
 
Inscription. "The regiment melted away like snow. Men disappeared as if the earth had swallowed them."
-Captain Porter Parley
140th New York Infantry
Shortly after noon on May 5, the battleline of the 140th New York burst from the woods to your right-rear - the first regiment to advance against the Confederates here in Saunders Field.

Undaunted by a devastating Confederate fire, the 529 New Yorkers sprinted across the field and assailed the Confederates along the woodline before you. But supporting units, Caught in the tangled woods north of the field, could not keep pace. Confederate fire raked the 140th exposed right flank. For perhaps 30 minutes the 140th New York clung to its foothold in the woods. Then, with nearly half its men shot or captured, the regiment retreated.

The advance of the 140th New York was but the first bloodletting in what would be two days of savage fighting in and around Saunders Field.
 
Erected by Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Natioanl Military Park.
 
Location. 38° 19.052′ N, 77° 45.424′ W. Marker is near Locust Grove, Virginia, in Orange County. Marker is on Constitution Highway (State Highway 20), on the right when traveling west. Click for map. The marker is in Wilderness Battlefield at stop one of the Gordon Flank Attack trail, near Driving Tour Stop Two (the Exhibit Shelter). Marker is in this post office area: Locust Grove VA 22508, United States of America.
 
Marker an Saunders Field Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, November 10, 2007
2. Marker an Saunders Field
On this field, the soldiers of the 140th New York Infantry made their charge. The monument in the background honors the 140th New York State Vols.
 

 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Gordon Flank Attack Trail (a few steps from this marker); 140th New York State Vols. (within shouting distance of this marker); The Wilderness (within shouting distance of this marker); Collision of Giants (within shouting distance of this marker); Clash on the Orange Turnpike (within shouting distance of this marker); The Fighting Ends in Stalemate (within shouting distance of this marker); Battle of the Wilderness (within shouting distance of this marker); Struggle on the Orange Plank Road (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Locust Grove.
 
More about this marker. The background of the marker features a Keith Rocco painting of the 140th New York charging the Confederates in Saunders Field.
 
Also see . . .  Battle of the Wilderness. (Submitted on March 7, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
 
Saunders Field Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain
3. Saunders Field
The back side of the 140th Monument is seen along the trail up the ridge. The 140th's charge reached the woodline where the observer is standing.
 
 
Zouaves Advance Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, October 18, 2008
4. Zouaves Advance
The 140th New York passed through the first line of defenders and into a gully beyond. There the regiment fought at close quarters, and awaited reinforcements. When those were not forthcoming, the Zouaves were effectively surrounded. The men were ordered to escape as best they could, and many were captured or killed. Several of the Federals were hastily buried by the Confederates around these rocks. While later the bodies were relocated to the Fredericksburg National Cemetery, depressions and mounds remain all around.
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on March 7, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 2,641 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 7, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   3. submitted on March 8, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   4. submitted on October 20, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
 
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