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

Gordon Flank Attack Trail

The Battle of the Wilderness

 
 
Gordon Flank Attack Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, February 16, 2008
1. Gordon Flank Attack Trail Marker
Inscription. In this field and its surrounding woods fell nearly one-third of the men killed or wounded in the Battle of the Wilderness.

The two-mile Gordon Flank Attack Trail tracks the Battle of the Wilderness in all its horrible forms: the open-field Union attacks here that initiated the battle; the stalemate in the tangled woods to the north; and the devastating Confederate flank attack that, after two days of fighting, almost brought the Federals to disaster.

The Wilderness: "Hell Itself"
The mature forests here today bear little resemblance to the Wilderness of 1864. For years before the war, vast tracts of the Wilderness had been timbered. When the armies arrived, they found a sometimes impenetrable landscape of matted thickets and young trees. Wrote one of Grant's officers, "It was a battle fought with the ear, and not the eye. All circumstances seemed to combine to make the scene one of unutterable horror."
 
Erected by Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Natioanl Military Park.
 
Location. 38° 19.049′ N, 77° 45.417′ W. Marker is near Locust Grove, Virginia, in Orange County. Marker is on Constitution Highway (State Highway 20), on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. The marker
Trail and Battle Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, February 16, 2008
2. Trail and Battle Map
Note the "You are here" flag on the lower portion of the map. The north seeking arrow points to the upper right corner of the map.
is in Wilderness Battlefield at the trail head 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.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. First Blood in Saunders Field (a few steps from this marker); The Wilderness (within shouting distance of this marker); 140th New York State Vols. (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). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Locust Grove.
 
More about this marker. A map in the center of the marker imposes the major combat maneuvers over the modern road and trail network, and is captioned: The trail is two mile long - about a 60-minute walk. A printed guide is available between the second and third stops on the trail.

On the right is a photograph from the 19th century of the Wilderness, Nearly every sapling visible in this postwar
Trail Head for Gordon Flank Attack Trail image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, February 16, 2008
3. Trail Head for Gordon Flank Attack Trail
The 140th New York Monument can be seen in the distance.
view bears the scars of bullets or shells. Many of the dead lay unburied for years.

 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Virtual tour of the Gordon Flank Attack Trail by markers.
 
Also see . . .
1. The Wilderness Battle. National Park Service article. (Submitted on April 27, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

2. Gordon Flank Attack Trail. National Park Service page detailing the hiking trail. (Submitted on April 27, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
The Wilderness image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress
4. The Wilderness
The photograph seen on the right side of the marker. This photograph, often used to illustrate the terrain fought over during the battle, shows several grim reminders of the fighting, including the remains of a soldier in the foreground.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 27, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,357 times since then and 63 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on April 27, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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