- Wilderness, Battle of the
(May 5–7, 1864) Engagement in the American Civil War.When Ulysses S. Grant planned a Union campaign to capture Richmond, Va., and advanced with 115,000 troops, he was met by a Confederate army of 62,000 under Robert E. Lee in dense thickets called the Wilderness. After two days of intense and inconclusive fighting, Union casualties outnumbered those of the Confederacy (burning brush killed many of the wounded), and Grant saw the futility of further hostilities in the area. He moved on to do battle at Spotsylvania Courthouse, forcing Lee back toward Richmond.
* * *(May 5–7, 1864), in the American Civil War, first stage of a carefully planned Union campaign to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia. Crossing the Rappahannock River near Fredericksburg, Virginia, early in May, General Ulysses S. Grant (Grant, Ulysses S.) advanced with a Union army of 115,000 men. On May 5 he met a Confederate army of 62,000 troops under General Robert E. Lee (Lee, Robert E.). The confrontation occurred in dense thickets, called the Wilderness, where orderly movement was impossible and cavalry and artillery were almost useless. Burning brush killed many of the wounded. After indecisive but intense fighting for two days, Grant saw the futility of further hostilities in this area and moved on to do battle at Spotsylvania Court House (Spotsylvania Court House, Battle of), nearer Richmond.
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