Battle of Spotsylvania Court House

Sunday, May 8, 1864 to Saturday, May 21, 1864

Thure de Thulstrup painting of the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

On the day after the Battle of the Wilderness ends, some of General Lee's forces converge on Spotsylvania Court House and entrench. Instead of withdrawing as previous Union commanders had after heavy casualties, General Grant races the Confederates to Spotsylvania Court House. For a full 14 days, Grant attempts to break Lee's army, and there are a total of 32,000 casualties for both sides in this extended battle, making it one of the top five costliest battles of the Civil War. By this point in the Overland Campaign, Grant has lost 36,000 men in just two weeks. Despite the losses, Grant's forces still outnumber Lee's, and the Confederacy struggles to remove men from other fronts to reinforce Lee, even as the Union attacks on the other fronts.


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