150 years ago today the battle for the Bloody Angle, at Spotsylvania Court House, raged for more than 22 hours. By the end of the Bloody Angle action more than 17,000 casualties littered the battlefield. More than 3,000 of the casualties were captured men from Major General Edward “Allegheny” Johnson’s Confederate Second Corps Division.
Throughout the dark and rainy night of May 11-12, Johnson informed his commanding officers that the Federals were massing for and assault on his front. Most of Johnson’s words fell on deaf ears. Near dawn Confederate artillery that was ordered out of the “Mule Shoe Salient” earlier in the battle, the exact position where Johnson’s men were deployed, were returned, just in time to be captured by Federal’s coming over the top of the works, as was Johnson. In the end a Confederate infantry division and artillery battalion ceased to exist. (Click here for a map of the action).
Where does the fault lie in Johnson’s tale, with Robert E. Lee or his defacto second in command Richard Ewell?