Happy “Myer’s Hill Day!” Today, May 14, was the anniversary of action 155 years ago at Spotsylvania Court House on the southeast edge of the battlefield. The highest ground in the area, Myer’s Hill became the scene of back-and-forth fighting.
I recently had the opportunity to visit Myer’s Hill with Ted Schubel of Fredericksburg’s NewsTalk 1230 am, and Ted put together a great little video for the radio station’s YouTube page. I wanted to pass it along here.
Central Virginia Battlefields Trust recently undertook an effort to preserve more than 70 acres at Myer’s Hill. You can read about that effort here. If you’d like to support CVBT’s efforts, you can do so by clicking here. (And thank you!)
Myer’s Hill has a number of cool “hooks” that, I think, make it an interesting story:
- Myer’s Hill represented one of Grant’s best chances for getting at Lee because Lee did not initially take the threat to his right flank seriously enough; however, the weather foiled the Federal plan, giving Lee time to finally respond.
- One of the initial Federal units that captured the hill was a Zouave unit, the 140th NY from Rochester.
- Emory Upton, a newly minted brigadier general following his breakthrough on May 10, held the hilltop for a while.
- Confederate defenders included the 9th VA cavalry, a regiment that consisted of local Spotsylvania men.
- Army of the Potomac commander George Gordon Meade was nearly captured at Myer’s Hill by Confederate cavalry.
- John Henry Myer, owner of the farmstead, had moved there from Fredericksburg to get away from the war. Conscripted into the Confederate army, he was positioned in Heth’s Salient when Federals captured–and eventually burned–his hilltop farmhouse. He could see the column of smoke but was powerless to do anything about it.
Gordon Rhea, the dean of Overland Campaign studies, has called Myer’s Hill “one of the most important pristine sites remaining to be preserved on the Spotsylvania Court House battlefield.”