Today in History, May 7: 1864 – The Horrors of War. The Battle of the Wilderness comes to an end as Union Gen. US Grant disengages from the Army of Northern Virginia, attempting to flank them. The three day battle had taken place in a heavily wooded area near Spotsylvania. The Confederates minimized the superior numbers of the North by fighting here. The most horrific part of the battle was the wounded from both sides that were left on the battlefield. Neither side could risk moving in to rescue them…and the woods where they fought had been set on fire by the cannon fire during the battle. The helpless men cried for help that would not come…and many that could manage to do so shot themselves to avoid being burned alive as the fire overtook them.