Lee and Grant: Profiles in Leadership from the Battlefields of Virginia

Lee and Grant: Profiles in Leadership from the Battlefields of Virginia

Lee and Grant: Profiles in Leadership from the Battlefields of Virginia

Lee and Grant: Profiles in Leadership from the Battlefields of Virginia

Excerpt

In the spring of 1864, the two greatest generals of the Civil War met on the battlegrounds of Virginia. Their leadership shone throughout the Overland Campaign and determined the outcome of the Civil War and the future of America.

“We never knew what war was till this spring,” said Private Joseph Graham, a veteran of two years of combat in the 140th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, in a letter to his family in late May 1864, after the battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania. For many Yankees and Rebels, these battles, and the rest of the fighting in the 1864 Overland Campaign, were a different kind of war from the already three-year-long death grapple between the Union and the Confederacy.

A conflict that for both sides had begun in 1861 as a glorious crusade had turned into something much more deadly three years later. Over half a million Americans lay dead by the spring of 1864, and there appeared to be no immediate end in sight. In Washington, Abraham Lincoln worried about his chances for reelection in the coming fall as his two main armies occupied positions in Tennessee and Virginia that differed little from their positions when the war began. After three bloody years, the heartland of the Confederacy—southern Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley, the Carolinas, and Georgia and the Deep South—remained inviolate and defiant.

In northern Georgia, Joseph E. Johnston had done much to repair the damage that had been done to the Confederate Army of . . .

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