594 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. [Clue. XLVIII.
receive an attack on my left and rear. General Birney then asked
my opinion as to the propriety of changing the position of the
whole line. I re-Dlied, "Before doing that you had better report
what has occurree: to General Meade." He said he had already done
so. While we were conversing on the subject a staff officer came
up and informed General Birney that General Hancock desired to
see him. I learned soon after that instead of breaking through our
lines the enemy had been repulsed, but not until after one division
of the Second Corps had been driven from the breast-works.
At 9 p. m. on the 7th the army commenced the flank movement to
the left, the Fifth Corps leading, with my division in advance. Our
march was impeded by darkness, bad roads, small streams, and
fallen timber ; yet, knowing the importance of reaching Spotsylvania
Court-House before the enemy, the troops were urged forward as
rapidly as possible. At daylight on the morning of the 8th I over-
took the advance guard of cavalry, which was engaged with the
enemy. I immediately deployed two brigades, holding the third in
reserve, pushed by the cavalry (commanded by Brigadier-General
Merritt), and drove the light troops and artillery of the enemy from
one position to another, through woods and across open fields for
about 3 miles. Coming to another field I could plainly see the
enemy's line in the edge of timber beyond. I here halted and re-
formed the division, and again advanced to the attack. The divis-
ion was soon checked, and it became evident that here was the
enemy's main line, but his strength was undeveloped. Knowing
that my brave men would follow wherever I led the way, I placed
myself at their head and led them forward to the attack. At this
moment a part of Griffin's division advanced out of the woods on my
right. Cheering my men on, we had arrived within 50 yards of the
works when I received a musket-ball in the left knee, resulting in
amputation of my leg. This unfortunate wound caused the result I
feared, for as I was borne off the field I saw that our troops were re-
pulsed and the attack had failed. Our loss this day was heavy, but
I have never been able to learn the number of killed and wounded.
It was my intention to have made a full report of these operations,
but having, failed to receive the reports of my brigade commanders,
I have been unable to do so. This brief statement, made at this late
day, is necessarily imperfect, but is correct so far as it goes. I regret
exceedingly that I am not able to do full justice to the brave officers
and men who served so long and faithfully under my command, and
whose gallantry has been conspicuous on many hard-fought fields.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. C. ROBINSON,
Maj. Gen. G. K. WARREN,
Late Commander Fifth Army Corps.
Itinerary of the First Brigade, Second Division, Fifth Army Corps,
May 3.—At midnight broke camp at Mitchell's Station, Va., on
the Orange and Alexandria Railroad.
May 4.—Marched at daybreak, crossing the Rapidan.
* From return for May.