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Near Spotsylvania Courthouse in Spotsylvania County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Lee to the Rear!

The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House

— Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park —

 
 
Lee to the Rear! Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, July 6, 2008
1. Lee to the Rear! Marker
Inscription.  
The General's countenance showed that he had despaired and was ready to die rather than see the defeat of his army.
Isaac G. Bradwell, 3rd Georgia Infantry

In these fields on the morning of May 12, 1864, Gen. Robert E. Lee faced a crisis so severe that he felt compelled to lead his troops personally into battle. It was the third such crisis in a week - a sure sign of the Confederate army's dwindling power.

Soon after dawn a courier dashed up to Confederate Gen. John Gordon at the Harrison house with an urgent message: A Union attack had shattered the Confederate line at the Muleshoe Salient, about a half-mile to your left. As Gordon's Georgians prepared to counterattack, Gen. Robert E. Lee took his place among them, intent on leading them into battle.

The solders would not permit it. "Lee to the rear! Lee to the rear!" they shouted. Two soldiers stepped forward, grabbed the bridle of Lee's horse and led him to safety. Gordon's men then plunged into battle. Within minutes they had recaptured the eastern face of the Salient - the prelude to a day of horrific fighting.
 
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National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is May 12, 1746.
 
Location. 38° 13.047′ N, 77° 36.195′ W. Marker is near Spotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia, in Spotsylvania County. Marker is at the intersection of Gordon Drive and Anderson Drive, on the right when traveling east on Gordon Drive. Located at tour stop four (The Harrison House) on the driving tour of Spotsylvania Battlefield unit of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Spotsylvania VA 22553, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Harrison House (here, next to this marker); Harrison House Site (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lee's Last Line (approx. 0.2 miles away); Ramseur's Brigade (approx. ¼ mile away); Upton’s Assault (approx. ¼ mile away); Confederate Counterattack (approx. ¼ mile away); Mayhem in the Muleshoe (approx. ¼ mile away); The McCoull House (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Spotsylvania Courthouse.
 
More about this marker. The background of the marker is a painting depicting the Georgians shouting "Lee to the Rear!"
 
Also see . . .  Harrison House Site.
Tour Stop Four image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain
2. Tour Stop Four
To the left is the Harrison House marker. To the right the Lee to the Rear! marker.
National Park Service virtual tour stop. (Submitted on August 18, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Gordon's Line image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, July 6, 2008
3. Gordon's Line
A portion of Gordon's line runs parallel to modern Gordon Drive, between the marker location and the Harrison House site.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 21, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 18, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,315 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 18, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.

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Feb. 28, 2024