by Donna J. Neary
Lieutenant Colonel Charles L. Chandler
rallying the 57th Massachusetts Infantry at Ox Ford.
May 24, 1864
During their march towards the North Anna River,
following the battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House, Confederate infantrymen promised General Lee that they
would go "even to hell itself" if he asked it of them, but it was to be the Federal soldiers they would meet near a river
crossing called Ox Ford who were destined to face "hell itself."
On May 24, after crossing the North Anna with his
brigade, Union Brigadier General James H. Ledlie, whose courage was enhanced by large quantities of alcohol, ordered an attack
on the Confederate "Inverted V" entrenchments centered at Ox Ford. Ledlie's lone brigade attacked an entire Confederate division.
One of Ledlie's regiments, Lt. Colonel Charles L.
Chandler's 57th Massachusetts Infantry, pressed bravely towards the Confederate works. "Suddenly", recalled Captain
John Anderson, an officer in the 57th, "every gun flashed out a shower of grape and cannister which shook the very ground
and swept everything in front of it........the gallant charge went no further, but turned into a complete rout."
The 57th fell back into a shallow ravine and held their position in the face of a murderous fire. Only when the 12th
Mississippi, during a driving thunderstorm, advanced down the hillside to complete the Confederate victory, did the Massachusetts
men begin to break.
Lt. Colonel Chandler tried desperately to rally
his regiment. Moments later a Confederate volley felled Chandler and drove his men from the field.
Official Painting for the North Anna Battlefield Park
Image Size 20" x 27
Overall Size 25" x 32"
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