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The Petersburg and Appomattox Campaigns 1864-1865 (The U.S. Army Campaigns of the Civil War)

ISBN: 9781944961046
Publisher: St. John's Press
Publication Date: 2016-02-06
Number of pages: 72
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By mid-June 1864, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, commander of all United States armies fighting to defeat the Confederate rebellion, faced a strategic dilemma at his headquarters near Cold Harbor, Virginia. Under his close control, the Union Army of the Potomac led by Maj. Gen. George G. Meade had just battled 66,000 rebels of General Robert E. Lee’s formidable Army of Northern Virginia in a bloody, month-long campaign. Beginning on 4 May, when Meade’s 100,000 troops had marched south across the Rapidan River west of Fredericksburg, the opposing armies had been in almost constant contact. Grant had sought to bring Lee’s army to battle and to destroy it with the Federals’ superior numbers, but Lee had deftly thwarted Grant’s flanking maneuvers in the battles of the Wilderness (5–6 May), Spotsylvania Court House (8–21 May), and the North Anna River (23–26 May). After each battle, Grant had attempted to outflank Lee’s entrenched position by moving to the Union left to prevent the rebels from falling back to strong defenses and to force them to fight in the open. The Confederate commander had successfully parried each of Grant’s thrusts and positioned his force between the d Richmond, the Confederate capital.

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