What were General Grant’s strategies for winning the war in Virginia in 1864?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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When Ulysses S. Grant took control of the Union forces in Virginia, he resolved to take advantage of his enormous military superiority over Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia. Grant knew that Lee, for political reasons, could not abandon the Confederate capital at Richmond, so if he continued to drive at Richmond, the Confederates would have to do battle. He attempted time and time again to go around the Confederate lines toward Richmond, and while he never achieved this objective, he did force his desperately outmanned army into several devastatingly costly battles at Cold Harbor, the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House before settling into a destructive siege at Petersburg. While Grant's forces suffered significantly more casualties than the Confederates, he could replace his losses, and Lee could not. With Lee's forces worn to a frazzle by casualties and desertions, Grant took Richmond after Lee abandoned Petersburg. From there, he was able to surround Lee and force his surrender at Appomattox Court House.


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