Grant vs. Lee – The Overland Campaign 1864

On March 10, 1864, Lincoln appointed Grant as General in Chief of the Armies of the United States. Grant believed that up to that point, Union armies in different theaters had “acted independently and without concert, like a balky team, no two ever pulling together.” Accordingly, his strategic plan for 1864 called for putting five Union armies into motion simultaneously against the Confederacy. While three smaller armies in peripheral theaters (Nathaniel Banks against Mobile, Franz Sigel in the Shenandoah Valley; and Ben Butler moving toward Richmond via the James River) tied down significant Confederate forces, preventing them from shifting troops from one theater to another, the two main armies, Meade’s Army of the Potomac and William Tecumseh Sherman’s army group at Chattanooga would lock horns respectively with Lee in Virginia and Joe Johnson’s Army of Tennessee on the road to Atlanta. The simultaneous advance of several armies is called “concentration in time.”

As General in Chief, Grant chose to accompany Meade as he took on Lee. For nearly forty days, the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia were in nearly constant contact—at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Ana, and Cold Harbor. This is the story of those forty days and the campaigns across the country in support of Grants operation. This is the most import campaign of the war and the tactics used here changed warfare forever. This was the first use of total war were objective was to destroy the enemies ability to wage war. It was the first time stalemate trench warfare was used as well as railroad artillery. The re-enactments were filmed on the actual battlefields. Includes rare photos and expert interviews.

Lee’s Retreat to Virginia
The Wilderness
Laurel Hill
Mule Show
Yellow Tavern
Cold Harbor
Spotsylvania Courthouse
Battle of North Anna
Battle of Trevillian Station
Sherman’s March to the Sea
Fall of Atlanta


Program Type: Documentary
Year Released: 2014
Running Time: 90 Minutes plus 50 minutes of Bonus Material
Language(s): English
Format: HD