THE WILDERNESS -- BATTLE OF MAY 6.
The men ordered to sleep on their arms -- Report of scouts -- Sedgwick's exposed position -- A plan proposed to flank and crush him -- GeneralEarly's objections to it -- Unfounded belief that Burnside protected Sedgwick -- General Lee orders a movement in the late afternoon -- Its success until interrupted by darkness -- The Government official records prove that Early was mistaken.
THE night of the 5th of May was far spent when my command reached its destination on the extreme Confederate left. The men were directed to sleep on their arms during the remaining hours of darkness. Scouts were at once sent to the front to feel their way through the thickets and ascertain, if possible, where the extreme right of Grant's line rested. At early dawn these trusted men reported that they had found it: that it rested in the woods only a short distance in our front, that it was wholly unprotected, and that the Confederate lines stretched a considerable distance beyond the Union right, overlapping it. I was so impressed with the importance of this report and with the necessity of verifying its accuracy that I sent others to make the examination, with additional instructions to proceed to the rear of Grant's right and ascertain if the exposed flank were supported by troops held in reserve behind it. The former report was not only confirmed as to the exposed position of that flank, but the astounding information was brought that there was not a supporting force within several miles of it.