General George Meade, Portrait

Although Major General George Meade (pictured here) commanded the Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, Meade’s superior, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, accompanied the Union army during the battle and throughout the Overland Campaign. Image Source: Wikipedia.

Battle of Spotsylvania Court House Facts, Details, and Timeline

May 8–21, 1864

Facts about the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, including dates, casualties, participants, who won, and more interesting details you might not know. This fact sheet provides a quick overview of the battle and is for kids doing research and students preparing for the AP U.S. History (APUSH) exam.

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Definition

The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House was fought between the United States of America and the Confederate States of America from May 8, 1864, to May 21, 1864, during the American Civil War.

Quick Facts

  • Date Started: The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House started on Sunday, May 8, 1864.
  • Date Ended: The fighting ended on Saturday, May 21, 1864.
  • Location: The battle took place in Spotsylvania County, in east-central Virginia, at Spotsylvania Court House.
  • Who Won: There was no clear winner in the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House.
  • Civil War Campaign: The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House was part of the Overland Campaign.

Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, Illustration

This illustration depicts the fighting at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. Image Source: Library of Congress.

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Interesting Facts

  • The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House was the second major battle of Grant’s Overland Campaign.
  • Several notable engagements took place in the larger Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. These included:
    • The engagement at Laurel Hill on May 8.
    • The fighting at the Po River on May 9.
    • The fighting at the Bloody Angle on May 12 and 13.
    • The engagement at the Harris Farm on May 19.
  • Although Major General George Meade commanded the Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, Meade’s superior, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, accompanied the Union army during the battle and throughout the Overland Campaign.

Commanders and Forces Involved

Principal Union Commanders

Principal Confederate Commanders

Union Forces Engaged

  • Army of the Potomac

Confederate Forces Engaged

  • Army of Northern Virginia

Casualties and Statistics

Number of Union Soldiers Engaged

  • Roughly 100,000

Number of Confederate Soldiers Engaged

  • Roughly 50,000

Estimated Union Casualties

  • 18,000 (killed, wounded, and missing/captured)

Estimated Confederate Casualties

  • 12,000 (killed, wounded, and missing/captured)

Results of the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House

  • The outcome of the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House was inconclusive and there was no clear winner.
  • On May 21, Union General Ulysses S. Grant evacuated Spotsylvania Court House and ordered the Army of the Potomac to continue to advance to the southeast.

Timeline of the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House

This list shows the main battles and events that took place before and after the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, and how it fits into the chronological order of the Overland Campaign.

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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Battle of Spotsylvania Court House Facts, Details, and Timeline
  • Coverage May 8–21, 1864
  • Author
  • Keywords Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, Civil War Facts for Kids, Social Studies Resources, APUSH Study Material
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date August 16, 2022
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update May 18, 2022
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