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

On to Richmond!

The Battle of the Wilderness

 
 
On to Richmond! Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, November 10, 2007
1. On to Richmond! Marker
Inscription. Before the Wilderness, battlefield stalemate meant retreat by one side or the other - a return to the starting point to try again another day. But not here. Union General-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant rendered stalemate in the Wilderness irrelevant. On the night of May 7, 1864 as the woods around you still smoldered, Grant ordered the Union army not backward, but forward - south toward Spotsylvania Court House and eventually Richmond.

As Union soldiers quietly left the earthworks in front of you, they realized a turning point had arrived. And when later that night Grant rode among them, they cheered. They cheered not because Grant had won, but because he refused to lose. For the Union army, eleven months of non-stop campaigning - and ultimately victory - lay ahead.

Wild cheers echoed through the forest, and glad shouts of triumph rent the air. Men swung their hats, tossed up their arms, and pressed forward to within touch of their chief, clapping their hands, and speaking to him with the familiarity of comrades ....The night march had become a triumphal procession for the new commander.
-Lieutenant Colonel Horace Porter, Union staff officer
 
Erected by Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, National Park Service, US Department of the Interior.
 
Location.
Markers at the Brock and Plank Roads Intersection image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain
2. Markers at the Brock and Plank Roads Intersection
38° 18.063′ N, 77° 42.538′ W. Marker is in Spotsylvania, Virginia, in Spotsylvania County. Marker is at the intersection of Brock Road (County Route 613) and Orange Plank Road (County Route 621), on the right when traveling south on Brock Road. Touch for map. Located at stop eight of a driving tour of the Wilderness Battlefield. Marker is in this post office area: Spotsylvania VA 22551, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. No Turning Back (here, next to this marker); 12th Regiment New Jersey Volunteers 1862 - 1865 (a few steps from this marker); The Climax (within shouting distance of this marker); Horror on the Orange Plank Road (within shouting distance of this marker); Valuable Crossroads (within shouting distance of this marker); Echoes Homeward (within shouting distance of this marker); Hell Itself (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Vermont Brigade (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Spotsylvania.
 
More about this marker. The background of the marker is a drawing with a caption scribed on the lower right, Gen. U.S. Grant at Wilderness May 7th 1864. It depicts the soldiers reaction as described in the text.
 
Also see . . .  Battle of Wilderness.
The "Compass" at Stop Eight image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, February 16, 2008
3. The "Compass" at Stop Eight
At several locations in the Central Virginia Battlefields, bronze pointers such as this one indicate the locations related points of interest. Here Parker's Store (along the Orange Plank Road) is indicated as 3.2 miles southwest. Spotsylvania Court House is 9.5 miles to the southeast. Culpeper Court House is 20 miles to the northwest. Orange Court House is 23 miles west. Richmond is 58 miles almost due south. And Washington, D.C. is 58 miles northeast.
National Park Service site provides links to a summary of the campaign, maps for driving and walking tours, and additional photos of the battlefield. (Submitted on January 26, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 26, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,227 times since then and 33 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 26, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   3. submitted on May 1, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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