Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia (May 8-21 1864)
This particular battle happened during a period in early 1964 where there were several battles between Robert E Lee and Ulysses S Grant. Many of these battles were very bloody, and a lot of them were inconclusive to say the least. In terms of casualties at Spotsylvania Court House, the South took on less of the burden than the North. However they failed to drive the Union offensive back, which has caused historians to mark this one as inconclusive.
Spotsylvania Court House Statistics
Total Troops: North – 100,000 South – 52,000
Casualties: North – 18,399 South – 13,421 Total – 31,820
The armies led by the two most famous generals of the Civil War, had been clashing for quite some time during this portion of the war, moving from battle to battle, ravaging the Virginia countryside. Prior to the Spotsylvania Court House offensive, Lee and Grant had led their armies in the Battle of the Wilderness, which also proved inconclusive.
Grant wanted to lure Lee into a different location in order to gain higher ground and more favorable conditions for battle. However Lee’s army beat him there by several days, which allowed him to entrench many of his soldiers in favorable positions.
Fighting would carry on at Spotsylvania for most of the month of May 1864. Grant used several military tactics to try to dislodge Lee’s position, but most failed, and his offensive was forced to continue on.
It wasn’t until May 21 that Grant finally moved his forces southward. Grant continued to try to turn Lee’s right flank. As part of the Overland Campaign, Grant used the battles during this time to box Lee into a siege at Richmond and Petersburg Virginia in June of 1864.
The Overland Campaign is considered a strategic Union victory, due to that end siege and the fact that overall, the South too many more casualties during the campaign. However there were several battles, like that at Spotsylvania Court House, where the casualty count went against Grant and his army.