The Battle Of The Wilderness

2537 Words Oct 19th, 2014 11 Pages
The Battle of the Wilderness was the first battle of the Overland Campaign during the Civil War. Often overlooked because it was indecisive, it is historically significant. It definitively identified Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant as the leading man in the fight for the Union and set the stage for the move to the James River and the taking of Richmond, Virginia, where the Confederate Army ultimately fell in defeat. Grant planned the battle between May 3 and 4 of 1864 and the battle itself occurred on May 5th and 6. This battle, the first between Grant and General Robert E. Lee of the Confederates, was the first major engagement between arguably the two greatest leaders of the Civil War.
The battle took place in the tangled woods of what is now Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Park about 10 miles west of Fredericksburg, Virginia along Orange Plank Road and Orange Turnpike. The Federals held the land to the east and the confederates to the west. The land was nearly impassable, proving a nightmare for both moving men and logistics. The importance of the location, however, was significant. Railways and roads led to Washington and were logistically important. For two years, fighting for the land surrounding the Rappahannock and Rapidan rivers led to stalemate. Twice previously, Lee had been able to withstand attack from the Federals; attacks led by Joseph Hooker and George Meade. Lee’s plan was, likely, to take Washington, which he believed would decidedly win…
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