Near Spotsylvania Courthouse in Spotsylvania County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Fighting for Time
Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
— Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park —
Throughout May 12, Confederates here waged a battle for critical minutes and hours. When Union troops swarmed over the east face of the Muleshoe Salient before dawn, Robert E. Lee knew instantly that the position – even if regained temporarily – could not be held permanently. But to build a new line farther to the rear, he needed time.
Though driven away in the first hour of the battle, the Confederates fought their way back into these works by 7 a.m. For the rest of the day they weathered repeated attacks, as Union troops built ragged, impromptu works to their front in an effort to close on the Confederate position. The fighting here transformed the landscape; the scars remain.
Ultimately the Confederates held this line long enough for Lee to establish a new line, a mile behind you. The cost: hundreds killed and wounded, all for nothing more substantial than ticks on the clock and a few inches of ravaged landscape.
Erected 2009 by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil
Location. 38° 13.247′ N, 77° 35.605′ W. Marker is near Spotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia, in Spotsylvania County. Marker is at the intersection of Gordon Drive and Grant Drive, on the left when traveling north on Gordon Drive. Located on a pull-over where Gordon Drive becomes Grant Drive, at tour stop six 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. A Mass Capture (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Confederate Line (approx. 0.2 miles away); Spotsylvania Campaign (approx. ¼ mile away); Containing the Enemy, Reclaiming the Works (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named Spotsylvania Campaign (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named Spotsylvania Campaign (approx. ¼ mile away); Dawn Assault (approx. 0.3 miles away); Fatal Mistake at the East Angle (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Spotsylvania Courthouse.
More about this marker. The background of the marker is an aerial photograph of the area. A dotted line at the bottom of the marker indicates the new line Lee was building to the south.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 21, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 30, 2009, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 996 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on October 30, 2009, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. 2. submitted on April 7, 2014, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 3, 4. submitted on October 30, 2009, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. 5. submitted on April 7, 2014, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.