Battle of the North Anna River, 23-26 May 1864

The third phase in U.S. Grant’s overland campaign against Robert E. Lee. After failing to outflank or break Lee’s army at Spotsylvania, Grant decided on a move towards Hanover Junction, a key railroad junction for Lee. If Grant’s men could reach Hanover Junction ahead of Lee’s, then Richmond would be extremely vulnerable to a Union attack.


North Anna:
Confederate positions

Grant ordered his men out of the trenches at Spotsylvania on 20 May. Over the next three days they were engaged in a race with the Confederates towards the Junction. However, Lee had the easier route, and was in place in time to stop Grant’s men. Four days of fighting followed along the North Anna, but it was very small scale stuff compared to the battles of early May. Grant’s losses were 186 dead, 792 wounded and 165 missing, a total of 1,143, tiny numbers compared to the 17,000 men lost in less time at the Wilderness.

Aware that the move against Hanover Junction had failed, Grant decided to move south east yet again. This time his target was Cold Harbor, another road junction, this time almost due east of Richmond, in the area fought over during the Peninsula campaign of 1862.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (date), Battle of the North Anna River, 23-26 May 1864 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_north_anna.html

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