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Ulysses S. Grant Information Center: Battles in the East, Including the Surrender at Appomattox

Information about General and President Ulysses S. Grant and resources for doing research. Includes material suitable for the K-12 audience.

Grant's Battles in the East From the Wilderness to Appomattox

Please help me maintain the integrity of this site by emailing me if you encounter dead links or other errors. Your assistance is much appreciated. Thank you.  Revised and updated, July 6, 2020

Chronological List of Grant's Battles in the East

1. Battle of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania and Orange Counties, Virginia, May 5-7th, 1864.
2. Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia, May 8-21, 1864.
3. Battle at Cold Harbor, Virginia, May 31-June 12, 1864.
4. Siege of Petersburg, Virginia, June 15, 1864-April 2, 1865.
5. Battle of Appomattox, Virginia, and the Surrender, April 9, 1865.
Grant writes about each of these battles here in his Personal Memoirs.

Soldiers Cheer for Grant!

       General Grant in the Wilderness

Following the Battle of the Wilderness
Grant turned his men SOUTH instead
of retreating north. The men went wild
and cheered his courage and resolve.
Finally, there would be no turning back.

Quote - "No Turning Back"

Henry Wing, journalist for the New York Tribune, carried a message to President Lincoln from Grant following the conflagration that was the Battle of the Wilderness. He said, "General Grant told me to tell you from him, that, whatever happens, there is to be no turning back."
From Henry Wing's little book When Lincoln Kissed Me, published in 1913.    

Massaponax, Virginia, Meeting of Grant and His Generals

Grant at Massponax
Can you find Grant in this
picture? This is part of
a series of photos taken
from the second floor of
Massaponax Baptist Church,
from which the generals had
borrowed the pews, May 21,
Grant at Massaponax
Here is another in this remarkable
series depicting "Grant in motion."

Read about this event at Wikipedia.

The various soldiers in these pictures are identified in a booklet titled Grant in the Wilderness, by Frederick Meserve, 1914. See it here on the Internet Archive.


Showing the Effects of the Long, Bloody War

Ulysses S. Grant

Quote - "...if it takes all summer."

Grant's communication with his superiors in Washington, DC during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
We have now ended the sixth day of very heavy fighting. 
The result to this time is much in our favor. But our losses
have been heavy, as well as those of the enemy. We have
lost to this time eleven general officers killed, wounded
and missing, and probably twenty thousand men. 
I think the loss of the enemy must be greater, we having
taken over four thousand prisoners, whilst he has taken from
us but few except a few stragglers. I am now sending back to
Belle Plain all my wagons for a fresh supply of provisisions
and ammunition, and purpose [sic] to fight it out on this line
if it takes all summer.

Civil War Painting Hanging Today in the White House

The Peacemakers, by Healy
This famous painting by George P. A. Healy
titled The Peacemakers, depicts Sherman, Grant,
Lincoln and Porter meeting aboard the River
Queen on March 28, 1865 (just a few days
before the end of the War). Read about this
famous, inspiring and still relevant piece
of art at Wikipedia.

3. Grant at Cold Harbor, Virginia, May 31-June 12,1864

Grant, Ulysses S.: Grant at Cold Harbor, 1864
This famous photo of Grant was taken by Matthew
Brady at Cold Harbor, Virginia, 1864. Some say this
is the most famous picture taken during the War. Grant
is wonderfully alive in this picture, a real human, not 
a "just right" pose for a photo.

3. Battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia, May 31-June 12, 1864

Battle Summary, Battle of Cold Harbor, from

Brief summary of the battle.

 Battle of Cold Harbor from the Civil War Wiki

Battle at Cold Harbor, from the American Civil War Trust


Grant said of the battle in his memoirs, "I have always regretted that the last assault at Cold Harbor was ever made. ... No advantage whatever was gained to compensate for the heavy loss we sustained."


Grant in the Field, Near the End of the War

Grant in the Field

Grant's Headquarters at City Point, Virginia

City Point Marker

Granat's Headquarters, City Point
Julia and Jesse Grant Visiting at City Point
Julia and Grant's youngest son,
Jesse, visiting at City Point

5. Appomattox Battle and Surrender, April 9, 1865