Battle of The Wilderness Facts & Summary | American Battlefield Trust
Wilderness Battle Hero

The Wilderness

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The first battle between Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Gen. Robert E. Lee erupted late in the morning of May 5, 1864, as Maj. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren's Union V Corps attacked Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell’s Second Corps on the Orange Turnpike southwest of the old Chancellorsville battlefield. Although Federal infantry managed to break through at several points, the Confederate line held. Fighting shifted to the south as Lt. Gen. A.P. Hill's Third Corps engaged Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock's II Corps and elements of Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick's VI Corps for control of the Orange Plank Road and Brock Road intersection. Darkness brought an end to the fighting with Hancock in firm control of the junction. At daylight on May 6, Hancock attacked west along the Orange Plank Road and smashed through Hill's line. Fortunately for Lee, reinforcements arrived under Lt. Gen. James Longstreet in time to stabilize the position. A series of Confederate attacks throughout the day pushed back the Union infantry, however, Lee was unable to break the Federal line. Rather than pull back, Grant elected to continue the campaign. He issued orders on the morning of May 7 to disengage and march southeast to Spotsylvania Court House to get between Lee and Richmond.

 

Battle Facts

Result

Inconclusive
COMMANDERS
Forces Engaged
162,920

Union

101,895

Confederate

61,025
Total Estimated Casualties
29,800

Union

17,000

Confederate

13,000