This issue completes a project that began in 2001 with Greg Mertzs feature on Uptons Attack at Spotsylvania and the Defense of Doles Salient. The action was on May 10, 1864. There was no master plan that we followed in our treatment of the two-week long Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, so the installments did not follow a chronological order. The pieces sort of fell together in their own good time and way.
The next installment was in 2004, also written by Mertz. It dropped back a few days on the battle calendar to May 7-8, and covered the march of the armies of Grant and Lee from the Wilderness battlefield to Spotsylvania. Warfare was changing. Both armies dug in, building earthworks, a precursor of the way wars would be fought in the next century.
The focus in part two was on Maj. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren, the hero of Little Round Top. There, he was Chief Engineer of the Army of the Potomac, commanding no one, but at Spotsylvania he commanded the V Corps in the fighting at Laurel Hill and Spindle Field on May 8. Grant was not pleased. During this time, he began to doubt Warrens fitness for command.
The third installment (2009), and the current issue, the fourth and final one, were written by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White. The third issue covered the most dramatic and bloody engagement of the battle, the fight at the Bloody Angle, or Mule Shoe, on May 12. It concluded with Lee falling back to his Last Line at Spotsylvania.
This issue treats the final days of the battle, May 13-20, 1864. Those days see numerous marches and countermarches as Grant seeks a weak place in Lees position. Lee responds with a march of his own. The Battle of Harris Farm concludes the bloody fighting at Spotsylvania. Photographers were on hand to record images that truly capture the essence of the terrible cost of this war.