Portrait of James Longstreet.

On May 6, 1864, Confederate soldiers severely wounded General James Longstreet (pictured here) during the Battle of the Wilderness just a few miles from where General Stonewall Jackson’s troops mortally wounded him at the Battle of Chancellorsville a year earlier. [Wikimedia Commons]

Battle of the Wilderness Facts

May 5–7, 1864

Key facts about the Battle of the Wilderness.

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Date

  • May 5 –7, 1864

Location

  • Spotsylvania and Orange Counties, Virginia

Campaign

Principal Union Ccommanders

Principal Confederate Commanders

Union Forces Engaged

  • Army of the Potomac

Confederate Forces Engaged

  • Army of Northern Virginia

Number of Union Soldiers Engaged

  • Roughly 124,232

Number of Confederate Soldiers Engaged

  • Roughly 60 – 65,000

Estimated Union Casualties

  • 17,666 (2,246 killed, 12,037 wounded, 3,383 captured/missing)

Estimated Confederate Casualties

  • 11,033 (1,477 killed, 7,866 wounded, 1,690 captured/missing)

Result

  • Inconclusive

Significance

  • Although Major General George Meade commanded the Army of the Potomac at the Battle of the Wilderness, Meade’s superior, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, accompanied the Union army during the battle and throughout the remainder of the Overland Campaign.
  • On May 6, 1864, Confederate soldiers severely wounded General James Longstreet during the Battle of the Wilderness just a few miles from where General Stonewall Jackson’s troops mortally wounded him at the Battle of Chancellorsville a year earlier.
  • Although the Federals suffered higher casualties, the Battle of the Wilderness was tactically inconclusive; neither army defeated the other.
  • Unlike other Union generals who retreated after suffering high losses in battles near the Wilderness (Ambrose Burnside at Fredericksburg in December 1862 and Joseph Hooker at Chancellorsville in 1863) Grant ordered Meade to disengage, march around the Army of Northern Virginia and forge farther into Southern territory.

Timeline of the Overland Campaign

These are the main battles and events of the Overland Campaign in order.

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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Battle of the Wilderness Facts
  • Coverage May 5–7, 1864
  • Author
  • Keywords battle of the wilderness
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 31, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 16, 2021
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