American Battlefield Trust’s map of the Battle of the Wilderness - Orange Plank Road Fight on May 6, 1864, from 2pm to 6pm.
May 6, 1864, had been a trying day for the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. A massive dawn attack along the Orange Plank Road by the Federals nearly destroyed the Confederate Third Corps and crushed the Rebel flank. Only the arrival of Lt. Gen. James Longstreet's Confederate First Corps saved the day for Gen. Robert E. Lee, who himself tried to lead a Rebel counterattack.
By noon, Longstreet was on the offensive, crushing the Union left flank and driving it back to the Orange Plank Road-Brock Road Intersection. In the midst of the attack, Longstreet was wounded by men of the 12th Virginia Infantry. With his second-in-command out of action, Lee assumed the role of both a corps commander and army commander.
Near 4 pm, the Confederate's launched their final attack along the Orange Plank Road in the Wilderness. Driving east along the Orange Plank Road, the Rebels attempted to dislodge the Federals from the Orange Plank Road-Brock Road Intersection. Once in possession of the intersection, Lee's men could turn north along the Brock Road and dislodge the other wing of the Federal army along the Orange Turnpike.
Lee's offensive achieved a few breakthroughs along the Union defensive line. The earthworks supported by logs and trees ignited into flames, and the men fought through the inferno. A Union counterattack overseen by Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock brought the battle to a swift conclusion.