In the spring of 1864, in the vast Virginia scrub forest known as
the Wilderness, Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee first met in
battle. The Wilderness campaign of May 5-6 initiated an epic
confrontation between these two Civil War commanders--one that
would finally end, eleven months later, with Lee's surrender at
The eight essays here assembled explore aspects of the background,
conduct, and repercussions of the fighting in the Wilderness.
Through an often-revisionist lens, contributors to this volume
focus on topics such as civilian expectations for the campaign,
morale in the two armies, and the generalship of Lee, Grant, Philip
H. Sheridan, Richard S. Ewell, A. P. Hill, James Longstreet, and
Lewis A. Grant. Taken together, these essays revise and enhance
existing work on the battle, highlighting ways in which the
military and nonmilitary spheres of war intersected in the
--Peter S. Carmichael, 'Escaping the Shadow of Gettysburg: Richard
S. Ewell and Ambrose Powell Hill at the Wilderness' --Gary W.
Gallagher, 'Our Hearts Are Full of Hope: The Army of Northern
Virginia in the Spring of 1864' --John J. Hennessy, 'I Dread the
Spring: The Army of the Potomac Prepares for the Overland Campaign'
--Robert E. L. Krick, 'Like a Duck on a June Bug: James
Longstreet's Flank Attack, May 6, 1864' --Robert K. Krick, ''Lee to
the Rear,' the Texans Cried' --Carol Reardon, 'The Other Grant:
Lewis A. Grant and the Vermont Brigade in the Battle of the
Wilderness' --Gordon C. Rhea, 'Union Cavalry in the Wilderness: The
Education of Philip H. Sheridan and James H. Wilson' --Brooks D.
Simpson, 'Great Expectations: Ulysses S. Grant, the Northern Press,
and the Opening of the Wilderness Campaign'