The Road to Spotsy
Dawn on May 8 found most of the Army of the Potomac still on the road to Spotsylvania.
The Brock Road turned into a congested mess because of the cavalry’s failure to clear their Confederate counterparts out of the way. Robinson’s Division of the Union V Corps led the march, and they were tasked to do what the cavalry could not: clear the road. Thus began a running game of cat-and-mouse as Robinson’s men deployed and moved forward, forcing Confederate cavalry to mount up and withdraw–but only as far as the next ridge, where they once more blocked the road and delayed the Federal advance. Robinson’s men fell back into line of march, rushed forward, redeployed into line of battle, and once more drove the Confederate horsemen back–again only as far as the next ridge.
The Confederate cavalry’s delaying action provided Lee’s infantry the time it needed to march along a route twice as long as the Federals’ route and still get into place along Laurel Hill–the last defensible ridge–in time to block the Federal move into Spotsylvania Court House.