Today, May 8, kicks off the 155th anniversary of the battle of Spotsylvania Court House. For two weeks, portions of the Federal army will occupy the area now known as Stevenson Ridge–then part of the Beverley Farm.
The first action to take place on the property happened early on May 8 when Federal cavalry splashed across the Ni River in an attempt to get behind Confederates who were blocking Brock Road–the northwest approach to the village of Spotsylvania Court House some three miles to the west.
James Wilson, who had underperformed thus far in the spring campaign, led a full division of horsemen on the expedition. A single brigade of Confederate cavalry under John Chambliss–four regiments, including the 9th Virginia Cavalry, which included many men raised from Spotsylvania County–tried to slow Wilson’s advance, but Wilson brushed them aside easily.
Confederate infantry responded by shifting into position to intercept Wilson, who realized he was outmatched and well beyond the aid of any reinforcements. He wisely chose to withdraw.
Chambliss would reposition his brigade to again guard the Fredericksburg Road–modern Route 208–which was the northeast approach to the village. Federals would approach again soon enough….
(to be continued)