Lee's Victory In The Battle Of The Wilderness

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Despite the apparent disintegration of slavery and eroding southern morale, the war’s outcome was uncertain in 1863 and 1864. In April 1863, “Fighting Joe” Hooker, a new Union commander in the East, invaded central Virginia. Outnumbered two to one, Lee repulsed Hooker at Chancellorsville, though his most talented commander, Stonewall Jackson, was mortally wounded in the fight. Lee soon decided on another invasion of the North, although the rationale for it today remains unknown. His army met and fought Union forces under General George G. Meade at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the first three days of July. Gettysburg was the largest battle ever in North America; 165,000 troops fought there. A desperate frontal assault led by Major General George E. Pickett failed to break Union lines on July 3, and Lee, having regretted ordering…show more content…
Grant was willing to incur high numbers of casualties with the knowledge that the North could replenish its armies, while the South could not. In May 1864, Grant’s Army of the Potomac began a month of fierce fighting and campaigning. In the Battle of the Wilderness, both sides suffered great casualties, but instead of retreating, as had previous Union commanders, Grant pushed on, fighting Lee again at Spotsylvania and Cold Harbor. After six weeks, Grant lost 60,000 men, an enormous number, but he inflicted 30,000 casualties on Lee’s army. This sustained fighting was a turning point in modern warfare and more resembled the modern trench warfare of World War I than the methods of 1861. Although Grant maintained the initiative, his strategy led to criticisms that he was a butcher. Victory was elusive. When Grant failed to capture Petersburg, a city that controlled the railways into Richmond, he laid siege to the city. At the same time, General William T. Sherman marched through Georgia, and took Atlanta in September
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