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Spring, 1864 . . . the Civil War's two greatest generals face each other in the field of battle. Ulysses S. Grant spurs his Army of the Potomac across the Rapidan River as part of a grand offensive plan designed to crush the Confederacy in a single blow. Awaiting Grant and his Federals is the Army of Northern Virginia under the command of Robert E. Lee who, for two years, has repelled every Union attempt to penetrate south of the Rapidan. Again, Lee foils Federal intentions, swiftly striking Grant's army as it struggles through the tangled darkness of Virginia's most impenetrable forest, known as the Wilderness. With dogged determination uncommon to Federal armies fighting in the East, Grant turns to face off with Lee. For two days the great armies wrestle amid the nightmare landscape that would give this bloody battle its name. An absorbing and detailed account of one of the greatest battles between Grant and Lee, vividly depicted by a distinguished historian.
About the Author
GRADY McWHINEY needs no introduction to readers of Civil War history. A distinguished writer, historian, teacher, and philanthropist, his career has spanned more than fifty years. His many publications include the highly regarded (and debated) Cracker Culture: Celtic Ways in the Old South, Attack and Die: Civil War Military Tactics and the Southern Heritage, and Battle in the Wilderness: Grant Meets Lee (McWhiney Foundation Press). He is in great demand as a scholar, speaker, and authority on Southern and Civil War history. McWhiney is also the founder of the Grady McWhiney Research Foundation, headquartered at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas, where he currently resides.
Read an Excerpt
In May 1864 General Ulysses S. Grant moved a huge Federal army into an area of Virginia west of Fredericksburg known as the Wilderness, which he only wanted to use as a passageway. Rather than attack General Robert E. Lee's army entrenched along the south bank of the Rapidan River, Grant planned to force Lee out of his strong defensive position, compelling him either to fight on terrain selected by the Federal or to fall back toward the Confederate capital in Richmond.
Table of Contents
1. Road to the Wilderness 13
2. What Manner of Men 22
3. Crossing the Rapidan 33
4. "Let the Men Rest" 53
5. "Those Men Are Not Whipped" 68
6." The Coolest Man I Ever Saw" 85
Appendix A. Organization of Federal Forces 92
Appendix B. Organization of Confederate Forces 109
Further Reading 122