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At Ease: The Wilderness

The Wilderness

The Battle of The Wilderness opened the Overland Campaign and held the decisive moment when Grant turned south and signaled a turning point in the Civil War. Over the years—with our partners' support—Central Virginia Battlefields Trust has saved over 192 acres at this battlefield. Thank you. Today, we invite you to spend some time "at ease" and looking at Wilderness history, a few photos, a new video, and—of course—the survey results for the generals at this battle.


Survey Results

31 votes and here are the tallies for your favorite generals from Battle of The Wilderness:

Ulysses S. Grant takes first place with eight votes, leading by four points.

The Battle of the Wilderness was Grant's first battle in the eastern theater. Technically, General Meade retained command of the Army of the Potomac, but Grant chose to accompany Meade for the Overland Campaign. In March 1864, Grant had promoted to lieutenant general and implemented strategy for simultaneous campaigns to pressure the Confederacy. During the May 5-6 battle, Grant himself waited, hearing the reports of the Confederate attacks and Union counterattacks. His command moment came during the evening of May 6; at the crossroads of Brock Road and Orange Plank Road, Grant pressed south, signaling that the indecisive fight in The Wilderness would not turn him back.

Three generals tied for second place: Robert E. Lee, John Gregg, and John B. Gordon—all Confederates.

One of Lee's most memorable moments during the Battle of The Wilderness occurred when he tried to rally fleeing troops who responded by insisting he move back to safety. "General Lee to the rear!"

John Gregg, a brigade commander in Field's Division of Longstreet's Corps, led his Texans and Arkansas men in the fighting around Widow Tapp's field. He was wounded during the battle.

John B. Gordon commanded a brigade in Early's Division of Ewell's Corps, fighting on the Confederate left during the Battle of the Wilderness. His audacious plans proposed attacks on the Union flank, but were delayed by others in the chain of command. Gordon was promoted to major general later in the campaign.


CVBT's New Wilderness Video


On The Wilderness Battlefield

Practicing social distancing and still getting some daily fresh air? Here are a few of our favorite places to visit on Wilderness Battlefield that are open for view or walking. Wilderness Tavern Site A small pull-off along Route 3 offers a chance to see the remaining ruins of Wilderness Tavern. Enjoy the view of the surrounding fields—many preserved by CVBT through your generous support! Widow Tapp Farm Located along Orange Plank Road, this large field was fought over several times during the Battle of The Wilderness. The cut trail, interpretive signs, cannons, and the Texas monument are preserved and maintained by the National Park Service.


Central Virginia Battlefields Trust's mission is to preserve, protect, and educate about Civil War hallowed ground at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, The Wilderness, and Spotsylvania.

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