US Civil War
Military Terminology

Did general Grant win the wilderness campaign?

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2011-12-17 17:40:14
2011-12-17 17:40:14

The Battle of the Wilderness was the first battle in the Overland campaign.

No, Grant didn't win it - Lee had forced him to fight in dense forest, where the Northern advantage in artillery could not be utilised.

But instead of retreating to Washington, Grant hung on to Lee's flanks and eventually cornered him at Petersburg.

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The campaign was tactically inconclusive, but since Grant continued his advance toward Richmond, it was a strategic victory for the Union despite the high casualty count.


Poor wretches, suffocated by the burning undergrowth, and unable to use their field-guns in dense forest. Yet their morale was not shaken. When Grant ordered them to continue advancing, they set up a big cheer. Incidentally, the Wilderness was a battle, not a campaign. The campaign was the Overland Campaign, a bad mixture of failed assaults and long, soul-destroying months of siege. The only cheerful aspect was the general war situation, tilting in favour of the Union. Grant had ended the system of prisoner-exchange, so the Confederates were doomed to run out of manpower. And Lee was pinned down in a war of attrition that he could never win.


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Because Lee forced him to fight in densely-wooded country, where the Union advantage in artillery could not be exploited.


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Manassas/Bull Run (1st & 2nd) The Seven Days Battles (Peninsula campaign, Virginia) Fredericksburg Chancellorsville Chickamauga The Wilderness Spotsylvania Coldharbour



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grant won the battle of Gettysburg



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