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Fredericksburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Vermont Brigade Counterattacks

 
 
The Vermont Brigade Counterattacks Marker image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, May 3, 2015
1. The Vermont Brigade Counterattacks Marker
Inscription. On May 4, 1863, Colonel Lewis A. Grant's brigade of Vermont regiments held the ridge to your right front. Late in the day, Brigadier Generals Harry T. Hays and Robert Hoke launched their Louisiana and North Carolina brigades against a Union line at what is now Hugh Mercer School, Colonel Isaac E. Avery stepping in to command the North Carolinians after Hoke fell wounded. When the first Federal line collapsed, the Confederates hastened forward, across this terrain.

The awaiting Federals in a second line lay prone. As their adversaries closed in, the Vermont men rose up and delivered several volleys of musketry. The Confederates fell back and the Federals surged forward in a counterattack that captured hundreds of prisoners. The local success proved short-lived, though, because another Confederate attack gained critical ground near Fall Hill (behind you) and the Federals in this area had to pull back or be captured.

"We waited until the enemy were within twenty feet of our guns, then rose, fired and charged at once with level bayonets."

"the ground was covered with one commingled mass of rebel knapsacks, haversacks, canteens, muskets and equipment, besides the dead and dying...."

-Vermont soldiers

(captions)
(left map) On the morning of May 4, 1863, a Confederate advance
The Vermont Brigade Counterattacks Marker image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, May 2, 2015
2. The Vermont Brigade Counterattacks Marker
severed the Union Sixth Corps' link with Fredericksburg (1). In the late afternoon, the Confederates launched an attack (2), but a substantial part of the Confederate force did not advance (3). The Southern assaults pressed into this area (4), but the Federals had a strong line and held until another Confederate column moved in behind them (5). During the night, the Union force collapsed its lines and retreated across bridges downstream from Banks Ford (6). These maps are oriented to the direction you are facing, and also show the modern road network to help relate the action to the ground.

(center photo) Colonel Lewis A. Grant had been a teacher and a lawyer before the war, but readily adapted to the profession of arms. On May 4, 1863, he skillfully defended the Federal line in this area, for which he would be awarded the Medal of Honor.

(right map) Colonel Lewis A. Grant's brigade of Vermont and New Jersey troops held the Federal line in this sector. Some of these regiments had already been engaged, but had fallen back and redeployed as shown here. Advancing into the sun, units from North Carolina and Louisiana were surprised by a severe fire from this new line and fell back in disorder. Not until John B. Gordon's Georgia brigade moved up a ravine and flanked the Federal position was the Vermont brigade forced to pull back.

Fredericksburg
The Vermont Brigade Counterattacks Marker image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, May 2, 2015
3. The Vermont Brigade Counterattacks Marker
During the dedication of the Historical Marker
Timeless
Spotsylvania Stafford Federicksburg
Panel design by Jackson Foster, The I.D. Entity
 
Erected 2015 by Fredericksburg Timeless.
 
Location. 38° 18.354′ N, 77° 29.799′ W. Marker is in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Marker is on Cowan Boulevard 0.2 miles west of Preserve Lane, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Fredericksburg VA 22401, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Heights at Smith Run (here, next to this marker); Historic Kenmore and George Washington's Ferry Farm (approx. 0.9 miles away); George Washington: Soldier and Virginia Planter (approx. 0.9 miles away); George Washington: Surveyor and Family Man (approx. 0.9 miles away); George Washington: Statesman and Public Servant (approx. 0.9 miles away); Confederate and Federal Defenses in May 1863 (approx. 0.9 miles away); Confederate Defenses in December 1862 (approx. 0.9 miles away); A Once Promising Canal Becomes a Raceway (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fredericksburg.
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 3, 2015, by Charles T. Harrell of Woodford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 468 times since then and 67 times this year. Last updated on May 4, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on May 3, 2015, by Charles T. Harrell of Woodford, Virginia. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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