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North Anna

May 23 - 26, 1864

Caroline County and Hanover County , Virginia

Following the stalemate at Spotsylvania Court House, Grant was determined to continue his offensive against the Army of Northern Virginia. After a failed attempt to bait Lee out of his earthworks, he found the Confederates entrenched on the south side of the North Anna River, where Lee's "inverted V" forced Grant to divide his army into three parts in order to attack. On May 23, 1864, one of A.P. Hill’s divisions assaulted the isolated Fifth Corps which had crossed the river at Jericho Mill. After a bloody see-saw fight, the Federal bridgehead remained intact. On the other flank, the Second Corps seized the Chesterfield Bridge over the North Anna. On the 24th, an alcohol-fueled infantry attack by a brigade from the Ninth Corps was repulsed at Ox Ford. Hancock, meanwhile advanced on the Confederate right. Lee hoped to strike an offensive blow, but he was ill, and the opportunity for defeating an isolated part of the Federal army passed. Once the threat of Lee’s position was revealed, Grant withdrew both wings of the army back across the North Anna River. Grant outflanked the position by moving downstream and continued his advance on Richmond.
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