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93rd. at Spotsylvania

ON THE lOTH. 12TH. 18TH. OF MAY,1864 AT
GRANTGEN. GRANT finding, upon sending out reconnaissances, that Gen. Lee had fallen back upon stronger entrenchments, awaiting a further attack, and finding it useless to again bring on another engagement, determined to throw his army between Lee's army and Richmond.

The Regiment lay quiet on the 7th until ordered to march to Spotsylvania,which was reached too late to attack that day, and next morning preparations were made to make a general attack, but postponed until the 9th. and thus was entered upon the first of that wonderful series of flank movements that have become the admiration of the world.

The Regiment, with the Sixth Corps, took the Chancellorsville road, reached the old battlefield at daylight; and halted for breakfast near the ruins of the old Chancellor House. LEEGen. Lee anticipating Gen Grant's flanking movements had hastened Ewell's and a part of Longstreets Corps. On an inner road to Spotsylvania, upon finding Grant had withdrawn from Wilderness Run.

The Sixth Corps reached Spotsylvania at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, and; by reason of the intense heat, exhausted by marching and fighting since May 4th, many men fell by the wayside. The Corps rested for two hours. when it was ordered to support Warren's Fifth Corps, which had become hotly engaged.

We pressed along a narrow road leading through a thick growth of timber until we came to where the Fifth Corps was engaged. Line of battle was formed, but an attack was delayed.A wooded ravine at a little distance from our front concealed a Rebel line of battle, and in our rear were dense woods, extending to the road, along which our line was formed.

The woods were on fire, and the hot blasts of air which swept over us, together with burning heat of the sun rendered our position a very uncomfortable one. Before long, however the Corps was ordered to the left, and took a position on the left ofWARREN Warren's corps. our secound division was formed in three lines of battle, with the view of attacking the Rebels, and soon after dark, all things being ready,our Division moved forward to attack, but finding the Rebels too strongly posted, the attack was relinquished, although this was done after some desperate fighting by our Division.

There was brisk skirmishing along the whole line on the 9th, our Corps placed in the left center. Our Second Division was formed in a clearing on the side of a hill which sloped gradually until it reached a swamp,which however, turned and passed our line at our left. About three hundred yards in front of us was a strip of woods one-fourth of a mile wide, and beyond the woods and open field where the Rebels was posted behind formidable earthworks.On our right has a dense forest, along which the 93rd touched with its line.

Our whole line was strengthened with breastworks of rails and logs, as which were procured almost under the Rebel guns, while the heavy mists of the morning concealed the men from view. Over the rails and logs, earth was thrown to protect the men from shot and shell. There was little fighting on the 9th, but on this daySEDGWICK Gen. Sedgwick, the beloved Commander of the Sixth Corps was killed, and the Corps and army lost a most distinguished Soldier.

Gen. Sedgwick was struck by a ball while on foot, directly in rear of the 14th New Jersey, First Brigade, Third Division, Sixth Corps. Gen. Sedgwick was, as was his custom, posting a battery—the First Massachusetts—then earthworks at that point forming an angle, which he regarded as of great importance. Gen. Sedgwick while posting the battery noticed a member of Company G of that Regiment moving in a stooping position toward his company in the breastworks. Gen. Sedgwick smiled, and playfully raised his foot toward the cautious comrade, saying pleasantly and good humoredly: What are you dodging for? They cannot hit an elephant that far."

Just then he recieved the fatal shot. below the left eye, the ball passed out at the back of his head, and he never uttered one word after receiving the fatal shot. His body was placed in an ambulance and while passing to the rear the ambulance passed along the 93rd Regiment, and never had such a gloom rested upon the whole army on account of the death of one man as came over it as when the heavy tidings passed along the lines that the noble and beloved old Commander of the Sixth Corps had been killed.

There was some picket firing during this Monday night, but no attack and the wearied and fatigued soldiers threw themselves upon the ground to rest. Our position on Tuesday morning, the 10th, remained the same as on the 9th. During this day both armies gathered their strength and perfected their plans for a renewal of the contest, on a scale of magnificence seldom if ever witnessed by any army before. This was destined to be a day of most fearful carnage, and desperate attempts on the part of eaeh army to crush the other by the weight of its terrible charges.
The activity of the skirmishing, along the line, early in the morning, steadily increased in severity until it became a roll of battle. During all the battles in the Wilderness artillery had been useless, except when here and there a section could be brought in to command the road, like that at the Brock Road and Orange Plank Road, where the 93rd.was stationed on May 6th, but now all the artillery on both sides was brought into work. It was the terrible cannonading of Malvern Hill, with the fierce musketry of Gaine's Mill combined, that seemed fairly to shake the earth and skies. Never during the war had the two armies made such a gigantic struggle for the destruction of each other.
HancockHANCOCK and Warrens Corps resisted the charges of the enemy, which were repeatedly hurled like an avalanche against our breastworks, hoping by the very momentum of the charge to break through our lines, but a most withering storm of leaden and iron hail would set the Rebels wavering,and finally send them back to the woods and their earth works in confusion,leaving the ground at each time with an additional layer of their dead.

In turn the Second and Ninth Corps made charges, and in turn they too would be forced to seek shelter behind their defenses Thus the tide of battle along our right rolled to and fro, While the horrid din of musketry and artillery rose and swelled as the storm grew fiercer..

Our Sixth Corps was not called upon until t' 6 o'clock in the afternoon, then it was to make one of the most notable charges on record. Col. Upton was given twelve regiments, which assembled on the open space in front of our works, silently entered the strip of woods which was between our line and that of the Rebels. Passing through to the further edge of the woods, the twelve regiments were formed in columns of three lines, each line consisting of four regiments. Our Second Division acted as support to that charge.
At the time of forwarding our artillery from the eminences in the rear opened a terrific fire, sending shells howling and shrieking over us and the charging column, and plunging in the works of the Rebels. Col. Upton's clear voice rang out: "Attention battalions ! Forward; doublequick; Charge !" And with a cheer, which were answered by the wild yell of the Rebels, the charging column forwarded, amidst a sheet of flame which burst from the rebel line, and the leaden hail swept the ground over which the column was advancing, while the grape and canister of the Rebel batteries came crashing through our ranks at every step, and scores and hundreds of our brave fellows fell, literally covering the ground.
But nothing daunted the noble fellows rushed upon the defenses, leaping over the ditch in front, and mounted the breastworks. The Rebels made a determined resistance, and a hand to hand fight ensued. until with their bayonets our men had filled the rifle pits with bleeding Rebels. About two thousand of the surviving Rebels surrendered and were immediately marched to the rear under guard. Without halting, the impetuousately rushed toward the second line of works, which was equally as strong as the first. The resistance here was less stubborn than at the first line. Yet the Rebels refused to yield until forced back at the point of the bayonet.
The noble heroes of the old Sixth Corps, which never failed to achieve the possible, rushed from the woods, on to the third line of defences which was also captured, although the ranks of the charging column had become fearfully thinned. Finding that re-inforcements were reaching the Rebels, while our column was every moment melting away, a retreat was ordered, and there was not even time to bring away the six pieces of artillery which we had captured,but were filled with sod and abandoned. The charging column returned to our defenses, leaving the dead and most of the wounded in Rebel hands.
The night of the 10th was passed in quiet and the 11th was passed in making new arrangements and although skirmishing was kept up along our line, no general engagement resulted. During the night the Second Corps took up a positiion between the Sixth and Ninth Corps,which was not before occupied. This line made here a sharpe angle and by seizing this angle, it was hoped to turn the right flank of Lee' s Army. Between the position of the Second Corps and the Rebel works, the ground was covered with vines and underbrush, and as it neared the defences ascended abruptly to a considerable height.
At the grey light of the morning of the l2th. the 93rd was moved from its position in the woods in the front to an open field in the rear,and an opportunity was given to boil coffee and for breakfast. Every officer and veteran knew that more desperate work was on hand for the day, and while partaking of the repast, Captain Riehard G. Rogers, of co. D came walking along the line of co. I, and upon reaching co. D, said to the writer: I would give my right arm if I had no need to go into battle this day. This surely was a premonition of death, for it was followed by his being mortally wounded and died two days afterward.

When all was in readiness, the Regiment with the Corps en-masse, rapidly advaneed across the field, a thick fog concealing our movement. As our column reached near the rifle pits of the Rebels, a storm of bullets met it; but charging impetuously up the hill and over the vorks, the Rebels, surprised and overpowered, gave way; those who could escaping to the second line in the rear, though thousands were obliged to surrender on the spot, so complete had been the surprise. Our victorious column now pushed forward on toward the second line of works, but here the enemy by this time fully prepared for an attack, the resistance became more stubborn, and the battle now raged with greatest fury.
The Sixth Corps occupied the works taken by the Second Corps, and the Rebels made the most desperate efforts to retake them. by forming their troops in heavy columns and hurling them against us with tremendous force. Our First Division held the center of the line of our corps, at a point known as "The Angle." This was the key to the whole position, and the Sixth Corps held it- Our forces held the Rebel works from the left as far as this "Angle," and the Rebels still held the rest of the line. Whoever could hold "The Angle" would be the victors; for with "The Angle," either party could possess themselves of the whole line of works. Hence the desperate efforts to drive us from this position.
The First Division of our Corps being unable to hold and maintain the position alone, our Seeond Division was sent to its aid. And now, as we of the Second Division took our places in the front, the battle became a hand to hand combat. A breastwork of logs separated us from the Rebels. Our men would reach over this partition and discharge their muskets in the face of the Rebels, and in return would receive the fire of the Rebels at the same close range. Finally the men began to use their muskets as clubs and then rails were used.
The men on both sides were willing thus to fight from behind the breastworks, but to rise up and attempt a charge in the face of the Rebels, so near at hand, and so strong in numbers, required unusual bravery. Yet the 93rd, with its noble and brave comrades of the First Brigade, and with those of the rest of our Second Division, Sixth Corps, did rise up, made the charge, and drove the Rebels back and we held "the angle" ourselves-—known the world over as "The Bloody Angle." Thus was verified those words which became famous of Gen. Grant: "I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer."

The trees in front of the position held by our Sixth Corps during this remarkable struggle, were literally cut to pieces by bullets. Even trees more than a foot in diameter were cut off by the constant action of the bullets, and it was the long continued, fearful musketry battle between our Sixth Corps and the Rebels, which cut down those trees.

The confliet now became more and more bloody, and soon the Fifth Corps. joined the Sixth Corps, and at 10 o'clock the battle rolled along the whole line, and the terrible fighting continued until 11 o'clock, when there was a lull in musketry, but the artillery continued its work of destruction Thus the second line of works of the enemy was taken, but not without fearful loss to both armies.
Our Sixth Corps had fought at close range for eight hours. Behind the works the Rebel dead were lying, literally piled one upon another, and wounded men were groaning under the weight of dead bodies of their companions On the morning of the 13th, Captain Charles W. Eckman, of co. H. of the 93rd, and the writer, made a close inspection of the Rebel breastworks at "The Bloody Angle" and counted the dead and wounded five bodies deep, with living and wounded Rebels beneath their dead, and the breastworks filled up with Rebels to the very top of them.
The trophies of this famous charge, were
Major General Edward Johnson with his whole Rebel division,
Brig. Gen. George H. Stuart, a brigade of Gen. Early's division,
a whole Rebel regiment and including between 3,000 and 4,000 prisoners.
We also captured between 30 and 40 guns in this charge in the
first assault in the morning by the Second and the Sixth Corps.
Gen.Wright, commander of the Sixth. Sorps. was wounded, but not severly.