Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“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)
 

Horror on the Orange Plank Road

The Battle of the Wilderness

 
 
Horror on the Orange Plank Road Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, November 10, 2007
1. Horror on the Orange Plank Road Marker
Inscription. Some of the Civil War's heaviest fighting occurred along the Orange Plank Road on May 5 and 6, 1864. One of two major roads passing through the Wilderness, the Plank Road became a magnet for both armies as they struggled to maneuver through the tangled forests. Battle lines surged up and down the Plank Road corridor, littering the roadside woods with fallen men. Fires scorched the forest, consuming the dead and wounded indiscriminately. Though violent and horrifying, the fighting here ended in stalemate.

Loop Trail
A half-mile loop trail leads you through part of what one soldier called "a wilderness of woe." The trail begins and ends at the object of the soldier' toil and blood: the Orange Plank Road-Brock Road intersection, 50 yards to your left. Along the way, you will traverse the woods that were consumed by combat and fire, pass a monument honoring the Vermont Brigade, and see earthworks built by Union soldiers to defend Brock Road and the intersection.
 
Erected by Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, National Park Service, US Department of the Interior.
 
Location. 38° 18.044′ N, 77° 42.572′ W. Marker is in Spotsylvania, Virginia, in Spotsylvania County. Marker is at the
Battle Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, November 10, 2007
2. Battle Map
Not the north seeking arrow points to the lower left of the map, and thus the Orange Plank-Brock Road section of the battlefield is in the upper section, although it is on the southern part of the battlefield.
intersection of Orange Plank Road (County Route 621) and Brock Road (County Route 613), on the right when traveling east on Orange Plank Road. Touch for map. Located in the parking lot 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. Valuable Crossroads (a few steps from this marker); No Turning Back (within shouting distance of this marker); On to Richmond! (within shouting distance of this marker); 12th Regiment New Jersey Volunteers 1862 - 1865 (within shouting distance of this marker); The Climax (within shouting distance of this marker); Echoes Homeward (within shouting distance of this marker); Hell Itself (within shouting distance of this marker); The Vermont Brigade (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Spotsylvania.
 
More about this marker. The background photo on the marker shows One lane of the Orange Plank Road had three-inch thick blanks laid upon it to make it passable in all kinds of weather. The planks are visible at lower right of the postwar photo.

An inset photo is captioned This grainy image, taken soon after the 1864 battle, shows the condition of vegetation along the Orange Plank Road in the Wilderness.
Trail Head for the Loop Trail image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, November 10, 2007
3. Trail Head for the Loop Trail
Planks for the road were cut from the adjacent forests in 1852, and twelve years of subsequent growth left the woods lining the road a tangled mess of underbrush and emerging trees.


A map illustrating the action at this phase of the battle is next to the inset photo. A trail map is next to the loop trail description.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Wilderness Battlefield - Brock Road/Orange Plank Road Intersection virtual tour by markers.
 
Also see . . .  Battle of Wilderness. 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 3,805 times since then and 83 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 26, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
Paid Advertisement