The Overland Campaign Analysis

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The Overland Campaign was a decisive moment in the Civil War: it was a strategic victory for the Union, but consisted of heavy losses on both sides. In just 40 days, the Union lost 55,000 men. The Confederates lost 36,000 men, but with an army roughly half of the Union’s to begin with, their losses were proportionally much greater. The final battle of the campaign, Cold Harbor, led to extremely high losses on both sides, but was a defensive victory for Lee. Anti-war sentiments grew in the North and Grant was labeled “the butcher.” Despite the high losses, Grant knew this is what had to happen in order to achieve the North’s strategic objectives in the war. Grant said, “My object in war was to exhaust Lee’s army. I was obliged to sacrifice men…show more content…
On that day, he took control of the Union troops and developed a strategy to finally defeat the Confederates and save the Union. Grant’s strategy was to destroy the South’s resources and men, and their will to continue fighting. He was an experienced military leader, and was trusted by the public and his troops. Once Grant was promoted to Lieutenant General by Lincoln, the next steps were entirely up to Grant. Lincoln had great trust in Grant to achieve the Union’s goals. Lincoln allowed Grant to operate with little civilian oversight, and knew that Grant’s strategy in war was the means for reaching their political…show more content…
A long succession of mishaps in this battle confirmed the exhaustion and frustration plaguing both the Union commanders and their troops. The Union lost almost 6000 men in just an hour, compared to fewer than 1500 Confederates. Both sides again used trenches and earthworks for their protection, but it was ultimately a defensive victory for the South. Grant regretted this battle: "I have always regretted that the last assault at Cold Harbor was ever made...No advantage whatever was gained to compensate for the heavy loss we sustained.” It signified the end of the Overland Campaign, but Grant shifted the focus of his operations to a new campaign - the Siege of Petersburg. The end of Cold Harbor is when the anti-war sentiments grew in the North and Grant received the unfavorable nickname of “the Butcher.” However, the campaign as a whole served Grant’s purposes and he was able to move forward with the Siege of Petersburg. The South was exhausted and Lee was forced to desperately defend Richmond and Petersburg in the next series of battles, where the Confederates ultimately surrendered about a year
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