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Battle of Spotsylvania Court House facts for kids

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Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
Part of the American Civil War
Battle of Spottsylvania by Thure de Thulstrup.jpg
Battle of Spottsylvania, Thure de Thulstrup
Date May 9–21, 1864
Location 38°13′27″N 77°35′53″W / 38.2242°N 77.5981°W / 38.2242; -77.5981
Result Inconclusive
United States Confederate States
Commanders and leaders
Ulysses Grant
George Meade
Robert Lee
Units involved
Army of the Potomac
IX Corps
Army of Northern Virginia
100,000–110,000 50,000–63,000
Casualties and losses
2,725 killed
13,416 wounded
2,258 captured or missing
1,515 killed
5,414 wounded
5,758 captured or missing

The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House was part of the Overland Campaign of the American Civil War. It was fought from May 8 to May 21, 1864. After the Battle of the Wilderness, Union commander Ulysses S. Grant decided to march south to get between the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. As part of the Union plans, they had to capture the important crossroads of Spotsylvania Court House. But Confederate cavalry arrived there first, followed by Confederate infantry.

Part of the Confederate line bulged outward; this part was soon called the "Mule Shoe". On May 12, Grant attacked the Mule Shoe with several thousand men. The Union attack captured part of the Confederate line but Confederate commander Robert E. Lee sent reinforcements to counterattack. The fighting lasted all day at the Mule Shoe.

The battle continued until May 21st. Grant then decided that he could not defeat Lee at Spotsylvania, so he ordered the Union army to move southward.

Opposing forces


Principal Union commanders

As of May 7, Grant's Union forces totaled approximately 100,000 men.


Confederate corps commanders

Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia comprised about 52,000 men and was organized into four corps.

Interesting facts about the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House

Spotsylvania Courthouse, 1864
  • Five generals were killed in the battle.
  • The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House was the first time Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant fought against each other.
  • There was fog, mist and rain throughout the whole battle.
  • There were 32,000 casualties.
  • By the end of the day, an oak tree almost two feet wide was completely severed by all the rifle fire.

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