Artist Alfred R. Waud sketched these Union soldiers under fire here on May 12, 1864. Lee’s counterattacks had driven the Union troops out of the Muleshoe, and here they are shown under cover on the outside of the Confederate trenches. Waud’s perspective was just a few feet from where you are now standing. It is the most immediate depiction of the fighting near the Bloody Angle that day. Waud labeled his sketch, “The toughest fight yet.”
In the image, the fighting rages most intensely to the right, the white smoke marks what would become known as the Bloody Angle. Amid the smoke stands a baffle-scarred oak, 22 inches in diameter, which would fall later in the day, cut down by small- arms fire. In the foreground, Union troops huddle up against the Confederate works amidst the carnage of earlier fighting.