Reminiscences of the Civil War

By John B. Gordon | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX
RESULTS OF THE DRAWN BATTLES

General Grant the aggressor -- Failure to dislodge Lee -- An exciting night ride -- Surrounded by Federal troops -- A narrow escape in the darkness -- General Lee's comments on the assault upon Sedgwick -- A remarkable prediction as to General Grant's next movement

IN the thirty hours, more or less, which elapsed from the beginning of the struggle on the 5th of May to its close after dark on the 6th, there was, during the night which intervened, a period of about eleven hours in which the fighting was suspended. In addition to this, the intervals between the successive assaults and the skirmishing consumed, perhaps, in all, some eight or nine hours, leaving in round numbers about ten hours of uninterrupted, continuous battle. When it is remembered that the aggregate losses on the two sides amounted in killed and wounded to twenty thousand, it will be seen that these Americans were shooting each other down at the rate of two thousand per hour; and yet at no time or place during those hours was one half of the two lines in actual strenuous battle.

As at Gettysburg, so in this prolonged struggle of the 5th and 6th of May, there was a series of desperate battles; but, unlike Gettysburg, this engagement brought to neither army any decided advantage. Both had successes, both corresponding reverses.

The critical student, however, who wishes to make a

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