It's May 1864, and the Union enters its fourth year of war against the Confederacy succession. Ulysses S. Grant -- Hero of Vicksburg -- has been promoted to General-in-Chief of the Union Army by President Lincoln in a last-ditch effort to win the war. Grant, placing his command in the field with the Army of the Potomac, will now execute his own aggressive strategy against the rebels on all fronts. But first, he must spend the next 47 days fighting across the enemy-held Commonwealth of Virginia.
Join amateur historian and US Navy veteran Kyle M. Bondo, as he follows the history of Grant's Overland Campaign from Washington, DC, to Petersburg, Virginia, in War Yankee, an American Civil War history podcast presented by Oncetold.
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- Overland.15: Yelling Like So Many DemonsIn This EpisodeIt’s 1:00 PM May 5th, 1864 — General Warren has ordered his division commanders Griffin and Wadsworth forward to pitch into the enemy now lurking on the opposite side of Saunders Field. While General Ayers’s 140th New York Zouaves are the first to be bloodied, another of Griffin’s brigade commanders — General Joseph J. Bartlett — moves across the field with enough momentum to smash a hole into the teeth of the rebel defenses. Will it be enough to carry the day?Notable Quotes“When the order was given to advance all three brigades started on the double-quick with a yell, driving the enemy in confusion back upon his reserves.” — Samuel L. Miller, a veteran historian of the 20th Maine“They were splendidly in line. Moved rapidly, their colors all unfurled, and formed as they advanced one of the finest battle pictures that I can remember.” — Soldier from the 1st Michigan“A red volcano yawned before us and vomited forth fire, and lead, and death” — Soldier from the 20th Maine“What a medley of sounds. The incessant roar of the rifle; the screaming bullets; the forest on fire; men cheering, groaning, yelling, swearing, and praying! All this created an experience in the minds of the survivors that we can never forget.” — Veteran Union Soldier“On we went, o’er briar, o’er brake, o’er logs and o’er bogs, through the underbrush and overhanging limbs, for about three-quarters of a mile, yelling like so many demons.” — Veteran Union Captain“Orders were given for regimental commanders to move up rapidly to the crest of the hill and hold it at all hazards in case Jones gave way. The woods in front were so thick that it was impossible to see more than 20 steps from our line, and all thought that General Jones held the crest of the hill. Our enemy soon hurled a heavy column against General Jones, sweeping down on his flanks and it became evident that he was pressing our men back. At this juncture, Battle’s brigade moved up at a double-quick.” — Soldier from the 3rd Alabama“Soon the troops on our left gave way and retired in confusion. We then found ourselves isolated, the enemy upon both flanks and reported to be in rear also.”
- Overland.14: The Wild, Wicked RoarIn This EpisodeIt’s 1:00 PM on May 5th, 1864 — Grant had given the order, Warren has given the signal, and now Griffin and Wadsworth’s divisions are emerging from the eastern edge of Saunders Field to pitch into the enemy. However, as the bugles sound and the men rise to their feet, a “wild and wicked roar” erupts from the Confederate defenses just as Col. Paddy Ryan and his 140th New York Zouaves charge forward and race across 400 yards of open ground.Notable Quotes“stand up…forward, double-quick, CHARGE!”— Col. George “Paddy” Ryan, 140th New York “Zouaves” Regiment“[The] wild, wicked roar of musketry”— Wilderness Veteran“Down the slope we rushed…killed and wounded men plunging to the ground.”— Zouave Veteran“It might be better if we bring up artillery and fire back!”— General Ulysses S. Grant
- Overland 13: Hat in HandIn This EpisodeIt’s 1:00 PM on May 5th, 1864 — Grant has had enough of both General Meade’s and General Warren’s excuses and has now directed them to send Griffin and Wadsworth’s divisions forward and pitch into the enemy at once. Unfortunately, Grant does not yet know that General Sedgwick’s 6th Corps, overcome by the tangles of The Wilderness, will not arrive on Griffin’s RIGHT flank for hours. Worse yet, Wadsworth’s men are also stuck trying to push through the dense Wilderness. When the order comes to march, Griffin’s men will be stepping out into an open cornfield to confront the enemy… alone.Notable Quotes“[moments before the fighting began, the men], for those few minutes lay there and faced the possibilities of tragedy then inevitable.”— Wrote a Zouave Soldier, after the Battle of Saunders Field“Suspense and dread and hope which possess men during such minutes cannot be adequately told in words.”— Zouave Veteran“stand up…forward, double-quick, CHARGE!” — Col. George “Paddy” Ryan, 140th New York “Zouaves” Regiment
- Overland.12: Running in CirclesIn This EpisodeIt's noon on May 5th, 1864 -- The Army of the Potomac has captured the Brock Road Intersection with Orange Plank Road, has discovered Confederate cavalry probing their left flank along the Catharpin Road, and now must deal with the growing threat of Rebels digging in along the Orange Turnpike. After waiting for hours for Meade to stop talking about attacking, and actually attack, Grant has had enough. But will he intervene in time to win his first battle against Lee?Notable Quotes"If [this] is what Meade meant by attacking 'at once', as he said he would at 7:30 AM (it's now after 10:00 AM) no wonder Lee was running circles around him."-- Gordon Rhea, Battle of the Wilderness"The only time I ever feel impatient is when I give an order for an important movement of troops in the presence of the enemy and am waiting for them to reach their destination. Then the minutes seem like hours."-- Grant's comment to Porter, from Hell Itself by Chris Mackowski
- Overland.11: Proper Yankee WelcomeIn This EpisodeIt's afternoon on May 5th, 1864 -- Greenhorn cavalry officer Brig. Gen. Harry Wilson has stumbled onto a third Confederate cavalry force coming down the Catharpin Road. While he prepares his troopers to repeal a rebel counter-attack from his former West Point classmate Gen. Thomas "Tex" Rosser of Virginia, he is desperate to get this new information to Meade before it is too late. The only problem is that Wilson's entire cavalry division -- over 3,000 men and horses -- is completely cut off from the rest of the Union Army. No one is coming to save him or his men.Notable Quotes"I had had no word from Sheridan that day and knew absolutely nothing as to his whereabouts or even as to the position of any part of the army except my own."-- Brig. Gen. Harry Wilson"Pistol and sabre were busy in slaughter while the shrieks of the stricken and the shouts of the victors mingled with the roar of battle."-- Confederate Cavalryman"General Wilson is falling back to this point, followed by the enemy. Col. Chapman reports the enemy that attacked very superior to his [force] and compelled him to retire. Wilson himself had not yet arrived and I can't say what I will do. I have my command here and will receive the enemy."-- Brig.Gen. Gregg"Artilleryyy-ist... Artilllllery-ist? Artiller-ist? No. Can't say it. How's about, 'good shot with a cannon!'"-- Kyle M. Bondo, Amateur Cannoneer
- Overland.10: Bad IntelligenceIn This EpisodeIt's noon on May 5th, 1864 -- Greenhorn cavalry officer Brigadier General James Harrison "Harry" Wilson started the Overland Campaign with high expectations. Now, after a series of tactical shortcomings and conflicting orders, his actions allowed rebel forces to approach the Union army almost undetected. To make matters worse, Wilson's entire cavalry division -- over 3,000 men and horses -- is missing. No one has seen or heard from Wilson since 5:00 AM. With the Orange Plank Road now engulfed by an endless column of Confederate infantry, Grant and Meade are desperate to know: Where the hell is Harry Wilson's Cavalry Division?Notable Quotes"My pickets report nothing new from the enemy this morning."-- Brig.Gen. James Harrison Wilson's last message to Maj.Gen Meade, 5:00 AM, May 5th, 1864
- Overland.09: Defiant Blue KnotIn This EpisodeIt's the mid-morning of May 5th, 1864 -- The Army of the Potomac has now discovered two massive rebel forces forming on both sides of Warren's 5th Corps still stung out over 5 miles within the tangles of The Wilderness. Now, as new intelligence arrives, they are becoming painfully aware that General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia has launched a counter-crossing attack along the Orange Turnpike AND the Orange Plank Roads. As Meade falls back into his old Eastern Army habits by going on defense, will Grant be able to finally push the Army of the Potomac into an aggressive Federal position?Notable Quotes"What had begun as a hopeful morning's march was rapidly taking an ugly, familiar turn. Once again, the Union high command had underestimated Lee's audacity."-- Gordon Rhea, Battle of the Wilderness"If [this] is what Meade meant by attacking 'at once', as he said he would at 7:30 AM [it's now after 10:00 AM] no wonder Lee was running circles around him."-- Gordon Rhea, Battle of the Wilderness"Double-Quick!"-- Maj. Gen. George Getty, Running to Brock Road Intersection, May 5th, 1864"We must hold this point at any risk -- Our men will soon be up!"-- Maj. Gen. George Getty, Arriving at the Brock Road Intersection, May 5th, 1864
- Intelligence.04: Ring KnockersOverviewIt's May 1864, You are an officer in the Army of the Potomac during the first week of the Overland Campaign leading men into The Wilderness against the Confederacy. As you struggle to maneuver your soldiers in a straight enough line to engage the rebels within this 70-square-mile tract of thickets and dense forest... you may ask yourself... How did I get here?Quotes"Let no man be so rash as to suppose that in donning a general’s uniform, he is forthwith competent to perform a general’s functions."— Prof. Dennis Hart Mahan, USMA (1824-1871)"[I] hail the day [I] left public office as the happiest of my life, except possibly the day I left West Point, a place I felt I had been at always and that my stay had no end."— Lt.Gen. Ulysses S. Grant (1871)"I was always a friend of southern rights but an enemy of southern wrongs."— Maj.Gen. Benjamin Butler (1861)
- Intelligence.03: Rifleman FirstOverviewIt's May 4th, 1864 — You are a soldier in the Army of the Potomac marching towards the Rapidan River and into The Wilderness -- a 70-mile tract of thickets and dense forest that only a year before had been the location of this same armies defeat at the Battle of Chancellorsville. Before you cross the floating bridge over the Rapidan River that will later be torn up so that you cannot use it again to retreat... you may ask yourself... How did I get here?Quotes“It's just like shooting squirrels, only these squirrels have guns.”— Federal Veteran instructing Recruits in Rifleman Skills, America Goes to War by Bruce Catton
- Intelligence.02: An American ArmyOverviewIt's May 4th, 1864 — You are a soldier in the Army of the Potomac marching towards the Rapidan River and into The Wilderness -- a 70-mile tract of thickets and dense forest that only a year before had been the location of this same armies defeat at the Battle of Chancellorsville. Before you cross the floating bridge over the Rapidan River that will later be torn up so that you cannot use it again to retreat... you may ask yourself... How did I get here?Quotes“I am greatly obliged to you, and to all who have come forward at the call of their country.”— President Abraham Lincoln
- War Yankee - Overland.00It's May 1864 and the Union has entered its fourth year of war against the Confederacy. President Abraham Lincoln has fired yet another general and is looking for an officer who will take the fight to the rebels. Enter Major General Ulysses S. Grant, the Hero of Vicksburg, and the type of general Lincoln knows will change the direction of the war in favor of the Union.Promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General -- a rank only held in wartime by George Washington -- Lincoln tasks Grant with the job of leading all Union troops against the Confederate Army.Grant wasted no time in forming a new aggressive strategy that will attack the Confederacy from five different directions and take him, the new commander of the Army of the Potomac, into the field to face General Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia.Howdy, I am Kyle Bondo, a US Navy veteran, resident of Fredericksburg, Virginia, and amateur civil war history buff, inviting you to join me for my new podcast - War Yankee.Follow me as I explore the history of the American Civil War beginning with Grant's Overland Campaign of May/June 1864. Why am I starting in the middle of the war? Because I live in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where the 40+ days of fighting started only a few miles away from my house at the Battle of the Wilderness, and then tore through my backyard into Spotsylvania Courthouse before concluding 80 miles to the south at Petersburg, Virginia.To make this podcast, I actually walked the path of destruction from Culpeper to Petersburg, Virginia, and stood where General Grant and the brave soldiers of the Army of the Potomac stood, 156 years ago. I now truly understand what it took the Union Army, in both courage and sacrifice, to end slavery once and for all, and ultimately reunite the United States of America.War Yankee - Overland is my American Civil War history podcast created by me, Kyle Bondo, and produced by Gagglepod. I hope you can join me as I follow the history hiding in my own backyard.
- Overland.08: We Will Fight HereIt's dawn on May 5th, 1864 -- Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, Major General George Meade, and the Army of the Potomac have spent the night in the fabled WILDERNESS. Now, as the morning sun rises on a new day, what started as an easy march out of the thickets quickly spins out of control after a series of unexpected enemy surprises.
- Overland.07: Clouded Yankee MindsIt's May 4th, 1864 -- Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant and Major General George Meade have moved the vast Army of the Potomac across the Rapidan River and into the fabled Wilderness. Now at the end of their first day, the Union Army believes they are miles away from any real danger. When they wake on the morning of May 5th, 1864, they will soon discover a very different and dangerous situation that has emerged from the mystifying woods of Northern Virginia.
- Overland.06: Sea of BlueIt's May 3rd, 1864 -- Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant and Major General George Meade's plan to move the 120,000-man Army of the Potomac is underway. They will move the Union War Machine under the cover of darkness, cross the Rapidan River far EAST of the Confederate Left Flank and make an end-run around to the Confederate Rear before Lee has a chance to react. It is a good plan except for three faulty assumptions: Assuming they can keep the movements of a massive army a secret, assuming that Lee's troops will take over 30 hours to move out of their defenses, and assuming that they can move their army quickly through the fabled WILDERNESS.
- Overland.05: Plans Within PlansIt's April 1864 -- Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant has placed his command in the field with the largest arm of the Union War Machine -- The Army of the Potomac. With his Headquarters now in Culpeper, Grant begins coordinating with the other forces arrayed around the Confederacy while also inspecting, talking to, and getting to know the soldiers of the Army of the Potomac. It is at this point that Grant has placed his trust in Meade and his senior generals to devise the opening moves of the Overland Campaign in just a few weeks.
- Intelligence.01: Terms of ServiceIt's May 4th, 1864 — You are a soldier in the Army of the Potomac marching towards the Rapidan River and into The Wilderness -- a 70-mile tract of thickets and dense forest that only a year before had been the location of this same armies defeat at the Battle of Chancellorsville. Before you cross the floating bridge over the Rapidan River that will be later be torn up so that you cannot use it again to retreat... you may ask yourself... How did I get here?
- Overland.04: View From CincinnatiIt’s March 1864 — Newly promoted Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, commander of the newly formed United States Army, has decided to place his command in the field with the largest arm of the Union War Machine -- The Army of the Potomac. Still encamped outside Culpeper, Virginia, this 120,000-man force has been staring across the Rapidan River at their Confederate adversaries to the South all Winter. Within the next 8 weeks, Grant will launch this army South, directly into the teeth of General Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia, and begin the bloodiest military campaign of the Civil War: The Overland Campaign.
- Overland.03: Center of the StormIt is May 1864, and President Lincoln has now promoted Ulysses S. Grant -- the hero of the Western Theater -- to the rank of Lieutenant General -- a rank only held in wartime by George Washington. Grant's task is to now lead the Union army against the Confederate rebels during the most unstable time in United States history. If Grant fails, it could lead to peace with the Confederates and a continuation of slavery in North America for generations to come. The wartime stakes could never be higher!
- Overland.02: Turning PointIt is March 1864, and President Lincoln is concerned. The first real victory in the East -- The Battle of Gettysburg -- is short-lived when General George Meade, Commander of the Army of the Potomac, fails to capture General Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia before they slip back into the Virginia wilderness. Now political pressure is mounting on Lincoln with Northern Democrats and Copperheads pushing him to make peace with the Confederacy. Combined with the growing number of Union causalities, New York Draft Riots, and a mix of results in the West, Lincoln is faced with the possibility of a divided nation and the continuation of slavery in North America for generations to come. The wartime stakes could never be higher!