Battle of the Wilderness (May 5th-7th, 1864)

The Wilderness was one of the most deadly and gruesome battles of the war and particularly the 1864 Overland Campaign by General Grant. The Wilderness was the battle between Union General Ulysses Grant and Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Although the battle ended in a draw, Grant did not retreat as the Union Generals before him would have - he pressed the fight on Lee.

The Battle was one of the most confusing battles in the war begining on May 5. Fought in thickets, with some open fields. In the thick brush there was heavy fighting, but neither side could gain an advantage, forcing both sides to build log and dirt defenses overnight. Grant had the advantage in troops with 119,000 against Lee's 64,000, but the terrain helped Lee's men hold off the Union advance. On May 6, both armies were so exhausted that combat pretty much stopped. Longstreet took advantage of the stopige in battle to reposition his troops.

In the afternoon Longstreet ordered a attack to break the Union's flank. In the middle of the fighting the trees caught fire, ingulfing some of the wounded soldiers. In all of the confusion Longstreet was shoot by his own men. Finally the Union repulsed the attack and by day's end both sides were back were they started. The next day not much fighting took place, except for some exchanges of fire but the battle was pretty much over. Grant moved his army during the night around Lee's defenses and headed for Richmond. Lee responded with a counter-attack at Spotsylvania Court House. The Union had suffered about 18,000 casualites and the confederates with 11,000, althougth in the confusion a accurate number was not kept. The Wilderness was over.