From May-June 1864, newly installed U.S. Army Commander Ulysses S. Grant attached himself to George Meade’s Army of the Potomac and directed that army’s confrontation of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in a series of very high casualty battles known as the Overland Campaign. Despite being stopped at the Battle of the Wilderness, Grant proceeded south and nearly dealt the Confederate army a fatal blow at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. The armies kept maneuvering toward Richmond and fought near the North Anna River before the Battle of Cold Harbor in early June.
At the Battle of Cold Harbor, General Grant thought Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was on the verge of collapse, and he decided to order a massive frontal assault against well fortified and entrenched lines. Grant was dead wrong, literally. Although the story of Union soldiers pinning their names on the back of their uniforms in anticipation of death is apocryphal, they did suffer thousands of casualties in about half an hour.
Eventually the Overland Campaign ended in a stalemate siege at Petersburg. During the siege, Grant coordinated a series of devastating campaigns launched by William Tecumseh Sherman, Philip Sheridan, and George H. Thomas. In April 1865, after finally breaking through Lee's trenches at Petersburg, the Union Army captured Richmond, the Confederate capital. Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox on April 9, and shortly thereafter, the Confederacy collapsed and the Civil War ended.
Before all of the generals relived the Overland Campaign in their memoirs, they wrote official accounts of the battles to their superiors, and these accounts were preserved in the Official Records. This collection includes 9 accounts of the campaign from prominent generals on both sides, including Commanders Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant, and Generals George Meade, James Longstreet, John Gordon, Winfield Scott Hancock, Richard Ewell, Ambrose Burnside and Joe Kershaw. It is specially formatted with a Table of Contents for each general’s account, and pictures of the generals who fought in it.