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Battle of the Wilderness-1-
The Wilderness refers to an old second growth scrub and rough terrain that encompassed more than 70 square miles in north central Virginia. In May 1864, it became the site of the first battle of the new campaigning season between the Army of the Potomac (commanded by George Meade but under the direction of Ulysses S. Grant) and Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Tactically, the battle was a Confederate victory. However, Grant ordered the Federal army to continue its southerly advance, deeper into Rebel territory. This would set the tone for the Overland Campaign which followed, with the Union advancing to the outskirts of Richmond despite a long string of costly tactical defeats.

Wilderness in The Guns of the SouthEdit

On May 4, 1864, General Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Potomac crossed the Rapidan at Germanna and Ely fords and attempted to pass through the Wilderness to threaten General Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia. In response, the Army of Northern Virginia moved north and then east to meet it. Richard S. Ewell's II Corps moved east along the Orange Turnpike and A.P. Hill's III Corps moved east along the Orange Plank Road while James Longstreet's I Corps, further south, moved east along Pamunkey Road.

The two armies meet in battle the next day. Elements of William W. Kirkland's brigade of III Corps encountered dismounted cavalry. Although armed with the seven shot Spencer repeater, they were over matched by the Confederates' new AK-47s. Hill's Corps managed to gain the cross-roads of Orange and Brock where they hastily built field fortifications.

Meanwhile II Corps clashed with the Union Army to the north while I Corps battled to the south. This left III Corps to face Federal soldiers from both the north and the south and the U.S. Artillery. Fortunately, they faced attack only from the north by George W. Getty's Second Division of John Sedgwick's VI Corps. So Kirland's brigade held on until the rest of Henry Heth's division and other parts of III Corps reinforced the cross-roads.

After the cross-roads were strongly held, Heth sent parts of his division south on Brock's road to extend his field works. These forces meet lead elements of Winfield Scott Hancock's II Corps. The Union forces attempted four assaults against Kirkland's brigade but were repulsed by the AK-47s' "auto fire" along with its more aimed single shot repeater action.

With their attempts to advance north blocked and threatened from the south by Longstreet's I Corps, many U.S. soldiers caught between the two set of C.S. forces were compelled to surrender. An anticipated fifth assault did not come before nightfall and so the battlefield settled for the night. Rescue of wounded soldiers did continue especially since the heavy gunfire had set brush fires.

In summary, after the first day of battle, Hancock's II Corps was trapped between Hill's III Corp and Longstreet's I Corp. In addition, Ewell's II Corps had driven Federal forces out of the wilderness and to Germanna Ford Road. However, the superior U.S. Artillery prevented Ewell from pressing his advantage in the open since it nullified the superiority of the AK-47.

The next day, May 6, the Confederates resumed the offensive. III Corps advanced south while I Corps advanced north squeezing the Federal forces between them. However, the U.S spent the night building field works of their own so it was a more difficult task than that of the previous day. Never the less, the C.S. with their superior AK-47s succeeded in storming the works where the U.S failed in their attempts the previous day. Once the works were breached, the AK-47s once again proved their worth by developing deadly enfilade fire against the remaining defenders.

Hill's III Corps again pressed south causing the soldiers of Hancock's II Corps to either scatter or surrender. Later that day, they meet up with Longstreet's I Corps. This left Hancock's II Corps "hors de combat", as General Lee would remark the next day. However, General Grant managed to use his superiority in artillery to extract the remainder of his infantry. While roughly handled, it remained intact. Grant withdrew north to the small town of Bealeton, thus ending the Battle of the Wilderness.

Wilderness in Southern VictoryEdit

In 1941 Daniel MacArthur's invasion into Virginia managed to gain only one foothold across the Rapidan River, at the Wilderness. This was due to the roughness of the terrain which made counterattacking as difficult for the Confederates as advancing was for the U.S.

Jonathan Moss' plane was shot down near the Wilderness, and he was thereupon captured by Confederate soldiers.

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