Key facts about the American Civil War Overland Campaign.
Also Known As
- Wilderness Campaign
Date and Location
- May 4–June 24, 1864
- Eastern Virginia
Timeline of the Overland Campaign
These are the main battles and events of the Overland Campaign in order.
- May 5–7, 1864 — Battle of The Wilderness
- May 8–21 — Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
- May 11 — Battle of Yellow Tavern
- May 23–26 — Battle of North Anna
- May 24 — Battle of Wilson’s Wharf
- May 28 — Battle of Haw’s Shop
- May 28–30 — Battle of Totopotomoy Creek
- May 30 — Battle of Old Church
- May 31–June 12 — Battle of Cold Harbor
- June 11-12 — Battle of Trevilian Station
- June 24 — Battle of Saint Mary’s Church
Principal Union Commanders
Principal Confederate Commanders
- General Robert E. Lee
Union Forces Engaged
- Army of the Potomac
Confederate Forces Engaged
- Army of Northern Virginia
Number of Union Soldiers Engaged
- Roughly 103,000 – 124,000
Number of Confederate Soldiers Engaged
- Roughly 60,000 – 65,000
Estimated Union Casualties
- 54,926 (7,621 killed, 38,339 wounded, 8,966 captured/missing)
Estimated Confederate Casualties
- 31–35,000 (killed, wounded, captured/missing)
- Union victory
Impact of the Overland Campaign
- Although Major General George G. Meade commanded the Army of the Potomac during the Overland Campaign, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, who was general-in-chief of all Union armies, traveled with the Army of the Potomac and personally directed the campaign.
- The Overland Campaign was the bloodiest campaign of the American Civil War.
- Unlike previous Union campaigns in Virginia, which were designed to capture Richmond, the Overland Campaign was designed to destroy the Army of Northern Virginia.
- Because of the high number of casualties during the Overland Campaign, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant developed a reputation as a “butcher.”
- The Overland Campaign ended when Grant stopped pursuing Lee’s army and shifted his strategy to capturing the strategically important Southern cities of Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia.
- The Overland Campaign was a strategic success for the North because: Grant hindered Southern efforts to send reinforcements to halt the scorched earth campaigns of Philip Sheridan in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and William T. Sherman in Georgia; even though the Federals suffered higher casualties (39,000 to 31,500), the Confederacy was not able to replace their losses as readily as the North; and finally, by threatening Petersburg, and ultimately, Richmond, Grant tied down the Army of Northern Virginia, limiting Lee’s options for the remainder of the war.
- The Overland Campaign’s high casualty rates and horrific battle conditions shocked war-weary Northerners.