• Sunken Road, Stone Wall and Innis House

    Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania

    National Military Park Virginia

Virtual Tour Stop, Tapp Field

Tapp Field
Major fighting and several interesting incidents happened in this field. Although owned by James Horace Lacy, the owner of Ellwood, the field was farmed by a 55-year-old widow named Catharine Tapp.
 
Exhibit in Tapp Field
A two-mile trail in the Tapp Field leads to the site of the Tapp house, exhibits, monuments and cannon.
 
Sketch of Tapp House
This sketch of the Tapp House was done by George Leo Frankenstein, a native of Germany who fought with the Union army. After the war he returned to several of the battle sites and produced a watercolor of them. The house was destroyed at some point after the war. Archaeologists found its location in the early 1990's.
 
Tapp Field
On May 5, Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee, A.P. Hill, and J.E.B. Stuart were conferring in the clearing when Union troops suddenly emerged from the woods. Stuart stood up and defiantly glared at the intruders, while Lee walked rapidly away. Hill kept his seat. The Union soldiers vanished into the forest, missing an opportunity to bag three of the South's top leaders.
 
Artillery in Tapp Field
On the morning of May 6, 1864, Union forces assaulted A.P. Hill's Corps along the Orange Plank Road. Unprepared and outnumbered, Hill's men fell back through the Tapp Field. The timely arrival of James Longstreet's Corps supported by William Poague's artillery (represented by the artillery pieces in the field) stopped the Union advance.
 
Sketch of Lee-to-the-rear incident
With the arrival of Longstreet's men, General Lee attempted to lead the Texas Brigade forward. The Texans implored Lee to go to the rear so he would not be killed. Soon, dozens of Texans were urging Lee to go back. Lee either ignored their pleas or in the noise of battle did not hear them. Finally a staff officer grabbed the reins of Lee's horse and led the horse and general to safety behind the lines. The "Lee to the Rear" incident became one of the most famous events of the war. The Texans then proceeded forward, losing 500 of 800 men in the charge.
 
Lee to the Rear Monument
In 1903, Confederate staff officer James Power Smith placed this monument in the Tapp Field commemorating the Lee-to-the-Rear incident.
 
Texas Monument
During the centennial of the Civil War, the state of Texas erected monuments on many of the battlefields where Texas soldiers fought. This monument was placed in the Tapp Field in 1964.
 
Colonel James Nance Monument
Among the casualties in the fighting along the Plank Road adjacent to the Tapp Field was Colonel James Drayton Nance. He was considered by some to be the best soldier in the entire brigade. In 1913, members of his regiment, 3rd South Carolina Regiment, placed this monument on the spot of his death.
 

Did You Know?

Todd's Tavern

The Battle of Todd's Tavern was not the largest cavalry battle of the war, but may have been the most important. Confederate horsemen delayed the advance of the Union just long enough so that the Confederate army could win the race to Spotsylvania which extended the war for eleven months.