In the fourth spring of the war, the Union Army of the Potomac under the command of George Meade – 120,000 men strong – confronted the much smaller forces of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia (62,000) under Robert E. Lee’s command in the Wilderness. It was the first battle in what became Ulysses Grant’s Overland Campaign of 1864. It also was the first battle in which Grant, who had attained the rank of lieutenant general (a rank not held by a U.S. general since George Washington), served as Commander-in-Chief of all federal armies. He was posted with Meade’s army and orchestrated the battle, telling Meade, "Lee's army will be your objective. Where he goes, there you will go also."
Fought in the dense forest of the Wilderness in Virginia near Spotsylvania, the battle was similar to those that preceded it: a smaller Confederate Army hammering superior Union forces but both coming to a near draw. At first the Confederates seemed to turn the momentum as veteran Confederate commander Gen. James Longstreet led his forces into the fight--only to fall apart when Longstreet was shot. This time, the result was different: despite suffering twice the losses of the Confederates, Grant did not retreat as the Union Army had in the past. Instead he headed toward Spotsylvania Court House, intent on a campaign of battering Lee’s army into submission.
Read about the action in the Wilderness for which Patrick DeLacy received the Medal of Honor.
For videos of the same ... To come.
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