Overland The Overland Campaign Driving Tour - Grant vs. Lee (1864)

(Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor)

Buckeye Bill

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The Battle of North Anna was fought May 23–26, 1864, as part of Federal Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant's Overland Campaign against Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. It consisted of a series of small actions near the North Anna River in central Virginia, rather than a general engagement between the armies. The individual actions are sometimes separately known as: Telegraph Road Bridge and Jericho Mill (for actions on May 23); Ox Ford, Quarles Mill, and Hanover Junction (May 24).
 
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Buckeye Bill

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The Battle of North Anna River at Ox Ford occurred on this day in 1864. After the fighting at Spotsylvania Court House, Federal Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant continued his Overland Offensive against Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. He was brought up short on the North Anna River by Lee’s widely studied “hog snout line,” which forced Grant to divide his army into three parts in order to attack. On May 23, 1864, one of Confederate Major General A.P. Hill’s divisions assaulted the Federal V Corps which had crossed the river at Jericho Mill, resulting in bloody see-saw fighting. On the 24th, Federal infantry were repulsed at Ox Ford (the snout) but advanced to near the Doswell House on the Confederate right. Lee hoped to strike an offensive blow, but he was ill, and the opportunity for defeating an isolated part of the Federal army passed. Once the threat of Lee’s position was revealed, Grant withdrew both wings of the army back across the North Anna River. Grant outflanked the position by moving downstream and continued his advance on Richmond, Virginia.

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Buckeye Bill

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The Battle of Totopotomoy Creek (Rural Plains), Virginia commenced on this day in 1864 and ended on May 31st, 1864. Following the Battle of North Anna River, Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant's Federal forces continued its advance southward. Leading the way, Federal cavalry skirmished with Confederates nears the Pamunkey River, crossing at Dabney’s Ferry (Hanovertown) and at Crump’s Creek on May 27th. During a cavalry fight at Haw’s Shop (Enon Church) on the next day, Federal and Confederate infantry arrived in the area of Rural Plains. The Confederates entrenched behind Totopotomoy Creek. On the 29th, the Federal Second, Ninth, and Fifth Corps probed General Robert E. Lee’s position along the creek, while the Sixth Corps felt its way toward Hanover Court House. Early on the 30th, the Sixth Corps turned south to come in on the far right flank of the Federal line but bogged down in swampy Crump’s Creek without getting into position. Federal Major General Winfield S. Hancock's men forced a crossing of Totopotomoy Creek in two places, capturing the first line of Confederate trenches, but the advance was stopped at the main line. The Federal Ninth Corps maneuvered into position on Hancock's left, driving back Confederate pickets on the Shady Grove Road. In the meantime, Brigadier General Gouverneur K. Warren's Fifth Corps, on the Federals' far left flank, was attacked by Early’s corps near Bethesda Church. The Federals were driven back to Shady Grove Road after heavy fighting. Confederate Brigadier General George Doles was killed by a sharpshooter near Bethesda Church on June 2nd, 1864. This battle was part of Grant's Overland Campaign.

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Buckeye Bill

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The Battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia, commenced on this day in 1864. Confederate troops attacked Federal troops at the strategic crossroads near the Cold Harbor Tavern just outside of Richmond. Since the beginning of May 1864, Federal Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant had pursued Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia around Richmond. The massive offensive was costly to Grant’s Army of the Potomac, which racked up 60,000 casualties before reaching the crossroads. After battling along the North Anna River and at Bethesda Church in late May, the armies engaged in a familiar race to the next strategic point. Federal troops arrived at Cold Harbor to find Confederates troops entrenched behind earthworks.

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Yankeedave

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Some maps to show various stages of the battles
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It shows the relative position of troops it shows none of the earthworks. The below is also of june third but showd a no mans land and the nps.
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The below shows the broader nature of the fight. Burnsides is up to no good on the union right.
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Let me add that june 1st...
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and june 7th saw action
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as did other days...and other troops. Sheridan and Hampton are sent on their orders culminating in the fight around trevillians on june 11-12.
 

Buckeye Bill

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The Battle of Trevilian Station, Virginia, ended on this day in 1864 with a Confederate cavalry victory. Confederate Major General Wade Hampton's troopers defeated Federal Major General Philip Sheridan's troopers in central Virginia. This cavalry conflict was part of Federal Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant's Overland Campaign.

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* Per @Eric Wittenberg.......

"The old Virginia historical marker--the one in front of the UDC marker--is historically inaccurate (as is the UDC marker, for that matter) and is not reliable. That was not the location of the June 12 fighting, as the marker suggests. The actual spot was about a mile up Route 33 on the Ogg farm property in the direction of Gordonsville."
 
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Buckeye Bill

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The Overland Campaign started on this day in 1864 when Federal Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant's Army of the Potomac crossed the Rapidan River. Grant sought to defeat Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia by quickly placing his forces between Lee and Richmond. Lee surprised Grant by attacking the larger Federal army aggressively in the Battle of the Wilderness (May 5–7). This battle would result in heavy casualties on both sides.
 

Buckeye Bill

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On this day in 1864, in the opening battle in the biggest campaign of the American Civil War, Federal and Confederate troops continue their desperate struggle in the Wilderness forest near Chancellorsville, Virginia. Federal Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant, commander of all Federal forces, had joined Major General George G. Meade’s Army of the Potomac to encounter Confederate General General E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in the tangled and dense forest.The fighting was extremely intense and bloody. Raging fires that consumed the dead and wounded magnified the horror of this battle. But little was gained in the confused attacks by either side.

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Buckeye Bill

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The Battle of Todd's Tavern occurred on this day in 1864. While Federal and Confederate infantry were engaged in a death struggle in the Wilderness, Virginia, the cavalry was struggling for control of the Brock Road at Todd's Tavern. Federal horsement led by Brigadier General David Gregg had held the intersection here in the early stages of the battle. On May 6th, cavalry chief Major General Philip Sheridan ordered Gregg's horsemen back to Alrich farm, four miles away, to better protect the army's ponderous wagon train. Confederate General Fitzhugh Lee and his horsemen promptly moved up and seized Todd's Tavern. The next day, Grant decided to leave the Wilderness and press on to Richmond by way of Spotsylvania Court House using the Brock Road as a bypass road.

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Buckeye Bill

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The Battle of Yellow Tavern, Virginia, occurred on this day in 1864. This American Civil War battle takes its name from an abandoned inn located six miles north of Richmond. Confederate troopers tenaciously resisted Federal troops from the low ridge line bordering the road to Richmond. Confederate Major General J.E.B. Stuart led a countercharge and pushed the advancing Federal troopers back from the hilltop. As the 5th Michigan Cavalry streamed in retreat past a mounted Stuart, a dismounted Federal private, 44-year-old John A. Huff, turned and shot Stuart with his .44-caliber revolver. This monument stands near the site of Stuart's mortal wounding.

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Buckeye Bill

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On this day in 1864, the Federal Army of the Potomac and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia clashed at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia. In what some historians have called the most intense combat of the war, the two sides fought largely hand to hand inside Confederate entrenchments. The worst of it occurred at an exposed portion of the line Confederates dubbed the "Mule Shoe" and a nearby a curve that came to be known as the "Bloody Angle."
 

barrygio

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I'm reading Foote's three-volume narrative and I just finished his chapter on the overland campaign. Seems to me that Cold Harbor was a blunder by Grant as bad as Burnside's Fredericksburg, or Lee's Gettysburg. Grant did not even bother to recon the defenses. But the soldiers knew it was suicide.

After the assault, the stench of the dead and cries of the wounded must have been awful, while the two generals couldn't agree on terms to bury the dead and rescue the living. The casualties between the lines were all Union. Every one of them. But Grant worded his request to Lee as if both armies needed to recover their dead and wounded. Lee insisted that "when either party desires to remove their dead and wounded a flag of truce be sent, as is customary."

Grant did not like that, and he held off for almost three full days while the stink got worse, and cries of wounded all but ceased as they died one by one. So what was the problem? Here is Shelby Foote's take:

"Horror was added to bitterness by the suffering of the wounded, still trapped between the lines, and the pervasive stench of the dead, still unburied after two sultry nights and the better part of a third day under the fierce June sun. 'A deserter says Grant intends to stink Lee out of his position, if nothing else will suffice,' a Richmond diarist noted, but a Federal staff colonel had a different explanation: 'An impression prevails in the popular mind, and with some reason perhaps, that a commander who sends a flag of truce asking permission to bury his dead and bring in his wounded has lost the field of battle. Hence the resistance upon our part to ask a flag of truce.' "






* The Battle of the Wilderness.

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The Overland Campaign (Grant's Overland Campaign/Wilderness Campaign) was a series of battles fought in Virginia during May and June 1864, in the American Civil War. Lt. General.Ulysses S. Grant, general-in-chief of all Federal armies, directed the actions of the Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. General George G. Meade, and other forces against Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Although Grant suffered severe losses during the campaign, it was a strategic Federal victory. It inflicted proportionately higher losses on Lee's army and maneuvered it into a siege at Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia, in just over eight weeks.

Crossing the Rapidan River on May 4, 1864, Grant sought to defeat Lee's army by quickly placing his forces between Lee and Richmond and inviting an open battle. Lee surprised Grant by attacking the larger Federal army aggressively in the Battle of the Wilderness (May 5–7), resulting in heavy casualties on both sides. Unlike his predecessors in the Eastern Theater, however, Grant did not withdraw his army following this setback, but instead maneuvered to the southeast, resuming his attempt to interpose his forces between Lee and Richmond. Lee's army was able to get into position to block this movement. At the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House (May 8–21), Grant repeatedly attacked segments of the Confederate defensive line, hoping for a breakthrough, but the only results were again heavy losses for both sides.

Grant maneuvered again, meeting Lee at the North Anna River (Battle of North Anna, May 23–26). Here, Lee held clever defensive positions that provided an opportunity to defeat portions of Grant's army, but illness prevented Lee from attacking in time to trap Grant. The final major battle of the campaign was waged at Cold Harbor (May 31 – June 12), in which Grant gambled that Lee's army was exhausted and ordered a massive assault against strong defensive positions, resulting in disproportionately heavy Union casualties. Resorting to maneuver a final time, Grant surprised Lee by stealthily crossing the James River, threatening to capture the city of Petersburg, the loss of which would doom the Confederate capital. The resulting Siege of Petersburg (June 1864 – March 1865) led to the eventual surrender of Lee's army in April 1865 and the effective end of the Civil War.

* The Overland Campaign Map.

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* Federal Lt. General Ulysses Simpson Grant vs. Confederate General Robert Edward Lee.

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* The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House.

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* The Battle of Trevilian Station.

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* The Battle of North Anna River.

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* The Battle of Totopotomoy Creek.

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* The Battle of Yellow Tavern (Confederate Major General J.E.B. Stuart's Mortal Wounding Site Memorial).

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* The Battle of Haw's Shop (Enon Church).

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* The Battle of Cold Harbor.

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* Federal Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant's Headquarters at City Point.

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* The Siege of Petersburg.

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* Photos courtesy of William Bechmann (2016)
 

Buckeye Bill

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I'm reading Foote's three-volume narrative and I just finished his chapter on the overland campaign. Seems to me that Cold Harbor was a blunder by Grant as bad as Burnside's Fredericksburg, or Lee's Gettysburg. Grant did not even bother to recon the defenses. But the soldiers knew it was suicide.

After the assault, the stench of the dead and cries of the wounded must have been awful, while the two generals couldn't agree on terms to bury the dead and rescue the living. The casualties between the lines were all Union. Every one of them. But Grant worded his request to Lee as if both armies needed to recover their dead and wounded. Lee insisted that "when either party desires to remove their dead and wounded a flag of truce be sent, as is customary."

Grant did not like that, and he held off for almost three full days while the stink got worse, and cries of wounded all but ceased as they died one by one. So what was the problem? Here is Shelby Foote's take:

"Horror was added to bitterness by the suffering of the wounded, still trapped between the lines, and the pervasive stench of the dead, still unburied after two sultry nights and the better part of a third day under the fierce June sun. 'A deserter says Grant intends to stink Lee out of his position, if nothing else will suffice,' a Richmond diarist noted, but a Federal staff colonel had a different explanation: 'An impression prevails in the popular mind, and with some reason perhaps, that a commander who sends a flag of truce asking permission to bury his dead and bring in his wounded has lost the field of battle. Hence the resistance upon our part to ask a flag of truce.' "

Thanks for sharing!

Bill
 

Buckeye Bill

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The Overland Campaign began on this day in 1864 when U.S. Army Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant's Army of the Potomac crossed the Rapidan River. This American Civil War campaign was a series of battles fought in Virginia during May and June of 1864. Grant would encounter Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Although Grant suffered severe losses during the campaign, it was a strategic Federal victory.

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