This Week in The Civil War, for week of Sunday, May 11: Fighting in Virginia, Sherman on the march.
The New York Times reported on May 11, 1864, that Grant’s Union army in Virginia was engaged in hard skirmishing at the Spotsylvania Courthouse. The dispatch said while no all-out battle had been fought, shooting was intense and wounded Union soldiers were being brought out via a supply train for medical care. The Times added in a subsequent dispatch two days later that Ulysses S. Grant’s Army of the Potomac was in “superb condition and spirits — in fact, was never before in any such condition” amid the renewed fighting in Virginia. Added the pro-Union newspaper: “We are going on to Richmond, depend upon it; at least, some more formidable obstacle than has yet appeared will have to present itself to stop us.” That obstacle would be a Confederate army with considerable strength to fight on for many months to come. Elsewhere, Union Gen. William T. Sherman marched out in early May 1864 from Tennessee toward northwestern Georgia with the ultimate aim of capturing the city of Atlanta.
This Week in The Civil War, for week of Sunday, May 18: Grant’s Overland Offensive in Virginia continues.
With the bloodletting of hard combat at Spotsylvania Courthouse in Virginia now receding, Lieut. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant marched a considerable Union force to the North Anna River as he prepared to again confront Confederate forces led by Robert E. Lee. Grant’s Overland Offensive was continuing, with both sides tracking each other in an area of rain-swollen rivers and streams north of Richmond, capital of the Confederacy. On May 23, 1864, fresh fighting erupted and raged for hours during the next two days at various locations. At every turn, Lee, sought to repel the shifting Union forces and vex Grant’s bid for a quick victory.
This Week in The Civil War, for week of Sunday, May 25: Fighting in Georgia.
Union attempts to begin taking aim at Atlanta intensified this week 150 years ago in the Civil War. Fighting erupted on May 24, 1864 around a place called New Hope Church in Georgia as forces under Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman squared off with Confederate rivals under Gen. Joseph E. Johnson. The fighting at New Hope Church was intense and Union attackers were bloodily repulsed. Skirmishing continued through the rest of that day. More fighting erupted on May 27, 1864, in the same general area of Georgia with the Confederates repelling a Union attack, leaving a large number of dead and wounded.
This Week in The Civil War, for week of Sunday, June 1: Bloody combat at Cold Harbor, Va.
Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant pressed on with fierce fighting in Virginia, his massive Union force intent on breaking the backbone of the Confederacy on its territory. But Confederate rivals in turn exacted heavy casualties on the Union foe. On June 1, 1864, Union cavalry fighters drove back one attack by Confederate forces, who were being reinforced by more troops arriving from Richmond, Va., seat of the Confederacy. Union attempts to attack the Southern forces met with heavy casualties on the federal side. The fighting raged for days along a front stretching for miles to the Chickahominy River in Virginia. By mid-June of that year, with both sides bloodied and wearied, Grant began moves to relocate his forces in an area threatening Petersburg, Va., below Richmond.