The Battle of Yellow Tavern

America’s Civil War and

When the Battle of the Wilderness ended on May 7, 1864 it left Robert E. Lee marginally the master of the battlefield, but the Confederate general’s first major confrontation with the new commander of the Union Army, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, was, in fact, very different from Lee’s victory on the same ground at Chancellorsville a year earlier. Then, the Federal Army of the Potomac, under Major General Joseph Hooker, had retreated in disorder. Grant, in contrast, ignored his tactical defeat and ordered the Army of the Potomac, under Major General George Gordon Meade, to resume its advance toward Richmond. Grant’s action served ominous notice to the Confederacy that the Union had a leader who was not at all intimidated by Lee’s legendary reputation-and one who was determined to bring the Civil War to a close by any means necessary.


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