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Widown Tapp's Field

Widown Tapp’s Field

Rebel Colonel John W. Henagan’s South Carolina brigade lined up around 6 a.m., May 6 south of Orange Plank Road in the Wilderness ready to reinforce Confederate troops in front of them and to stop a Yankee breakthrough. Brothers Francis and John Poore and the men of Colonel Benjamin Humphreys’ Brigade came up on the run behind them. Other brigades formed to the north and south of the plank road.

In a movement one Confederate officer described as “superb,” the advancing rebels shouldered their way past the swirlingWidow Tapp's sign groups of retreating graycoats and advanced toward the onrushing Yankees.

When Henagan’s Brigade struck into the Yankees a part of the rebel line shifted and opened a gap in their formation. Without a moment’s rest from the run up to the front, Francis, John and their comrades rushed forward across Widow Tapp’s field and filled the gap.

A round of rebel yells announced their arrival as Minie balls zipped by like thousands of angry bees. The onslaught by Francis, John and their comrades caught the federals by surprise. Blasts of hot lead from their muskets dropped bluecoats by the dozens. Deadly accurate Confederate artillery fire tore swaths through the federal ranks. The broken Union troops staggered back like a pummeled boxer.

Thus began the Wilderness ordeal for the Poore brothers.