Confederate trenches still remain in Saunders Field.
The Battle of the Wilderness was largely fought in a dense forest of young trees and undergrowth. Ignited by bursting shells and fueled by dead leaves and dry shrubs and timber, the flames quickly spread. One fire moved out of the woods into Saunders Field consuming dead and wounded. Soldiers valiantly rescued some of the wounded as depicted in this sketch.
In the opening fight at Saunders Field, Ayres's Union brigade attacked on the north side of the Orange Turnpike shown here in the background. On the south side of the Turnpike, shown here in the foreground, Bartlett's brigade, followed by Sweitzer's attacked. Confederates under General Richard Ewell repulsed the assaults on both sides of the road.