After the desperate fighting around the Bloody Angle, the fighting at Spotsylvania simmered quietly for nearly a week. No major attacks were made, and the time was spent maneuvering and skirmishing. Grant again decided to shift his army east, and the Federals moved to strike Lee's right. But by the time the Union troops were ready to attack Robert E. Lee had recognized what was happening and shifted Anderson's First Corps from the left to the right.
After waiting a few days for the weather to clear, Grant ordered that an attack be made on the position of the Mule Shoe, now the Confederate left. He hoped that Lee had weakened that front when he shifted his position a few days before. The lines went forward at dawn on May 18. The Federals soon found that Ewell's Second Corps still held the works, which the Confederates had only strengthened in the intervening days. The assaults were driven back by artillery fire alone, as the Federals did not even come within rifle range of the works.
|Works at Spotsylvania|