The Battle for Saunders Field
The Wilderness, Virginia 1864
Designed and presented by John Michael Priest
‘The Devil to Pay’ conversion by Nathaniel St. John
A battalion/regimental level 1864 scenario from the opening of U.S. General Grant’s Overland Campaign. As this scenario demonstrates, Grant’s advance would be hotly contested.
During the early part of May 1864, General Ulysses S. Grant began a three pronged campaign to destroy the Confederate forces in Virginia. He directed General Franz Sigel to sweep up the Shenandoah Valley from Harpers Ferry and move on Richmond from the west. He ordered the infamous General Benjamin Butler to move up the James River and close on the city from the east, while he, with General George G. Meade’s massive Army of the Potomac (125,00 men) moved south, overland, against the Confederate capital.
On May 4, while the Federals Marched toward the Rapidan River, General Robert E. Lee’s videttes reported the advance to him and by the morning of May 5, he had begun moving his army of Northern Virginia east against Grant’s flank.
The Federals assaulted across Saunders field driving Jones’ brigade from the entrenchments on the far side. Battle’s brigade then stemmed the Federal advance. Daniel and Steuart’s brigades counter-charged and regained the field. These two brigades seized the ditch in the center of the field. The Federal regiments were flanked and retreated to the opposite side of the field and holding it for the rest of the day.