James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
Napoleonic swiftness marched forward to dispute the advance of his enemy. On May 5, the forces came together in the Wilderness and a hot battle raged. The Confederates numerically were one-half the Union strength but their better knowledge of the battle ground and the little use that could be made of the Federal artillery, rendered it an equal contest; neither side gained an advantage.
Grant perceived that he must fight his way through the Wilderness and next day prepared to take the offensive; but Lee had likewise determined on attack. Both desiring the initiative, the battle was on at an early hour. It progressed with varying fortune; each force gained successes at different moments and at different parts of the line. At one time the Confederate right wing was driven back and disaster seemed imminent, when Longstreet came up and saved the day. A Texas brigade of Longstreets corps went forward to the charge, and Lee, who like his exemplar Washington was an eager warrior and loved the noise and excitement of battle, spurred onward his horse and, in his anxiety for the result, started to follow the Texans as they advanced in regular order. He was recognized, and from the entire line came the cry, Go back, General Lee! go back! This Confederate movement was stopped by the wounding of Longstreet by a shot from his own men, an accident similar to that by which Stonewall Jackson one year before had received his mortal hurt.
The fighting of these two days is called the battle of the Wilderness. Both generals claimed the advantage; both were disappointed in the result. Grant, who had expected that the passage of the Rapidan and the turning of the right of the Confederates would compel them to fall back, had hoped to march through the Wilderness unopposed, fight them in more open country and inflict upon them a heavy