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The Battle of the Wilderness took place during the early may of 1864 as part of the American Civil war. It was the first battle in General Ulysses S. Grant's Overland campaign against Virginia. The result was a very bloody conflict which ended inconclusively. Grant disengaged his forces from the battlefield and continued his push for Richmond before a decisive result could be reached. The battle signaled a new war of attrition, which would result in many deaths on both sides before the war came to a conclusion. This is the second entry on this battle. This entry is located at the western as fighting went that direction. The other entry is located near the eastern portion of the battle where the battle started at Saunders Field. For more source material on this battle, a list is found on the other entry.


In early May of 1864, Commander of the Union forces, General Ulysses S. Grant, launched a new campaign against Virginia and Lee's army, known as the Overland Campaign.  Grant hoped to put his army between Lee and Richmond, forcing the smaller Army of Northern Virginia into open battle. Attempting to achieve this, Grant hastily moved his forces through dense brush and forest known as the Wilderness of Spotsylvania. Although his forces traveled light, they were spread thin due to the nature of the thick forest. This made them vulnerable to attack.

Lee knew this, and surprised Grant with a fierce attack.  He moved two of his corps on parallel  roads to intercept the bogged down Union army. The battle began with the Union V Corps attacking General Ewell's Corps on the Orange Turnpike. A.P Hill also ran into the Union VI and II Corps along the Orange Plank Road, with fierce fighting that lasted until sunset. The fighting however, was inconclusive as both armies found it difficult to maneuver through the woods.

The next morning, the Union II Corps hit Hills Corps a second time, along the Plank Road.  Hills men were driven back in confusion and panic, but the lines were stabilized by reinforcements from General Longstreet. This prevented a collapse of the Confederate right flank. Longstreet continued with a flanking counterattack that successfully pushed back the Union line, until Longstreet himself was shot by his own men by mistake. This essentially took all the momentum from the counterattack, and the Confederate advance stalled. Confederate General Gordon followed suit, and launched an attack on the Union right that was eventually repulsed, but it caused uneasiness at the Union headquarters.

The next morning, Grant disengaged his forces and successfully maneuvered himself between Lee and Richmond. Even though the fight had been inconclusive in nature, Grant had gained his goal, and pressed onward with his offensive. The battle had been very bloody, but Grant's army was in a better position to cope with such casualties.  In proportion, the losses in Lee's army were disastrous, as there wasn't a large pool of men to replenish his ranks from.  This signaled the beginning of a bloody war of attrition that would last until the surrender of the Confederacy.  

http://www.encyclopediaVirginia.org/Battle_of_the_Wilderness http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/the-wilderness.html http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/civilwarintheeast/p/battle-of-the-wilderness.htm