Lee Meets Grant; Legends Clash At Pearce Museum Beginning March 1
The Pearce Museum is pleased to present its latest temporary exhibition, Men Made of Iron: The Overland Campaign of 1864, which will be in the Civil War Gallery through summer. The Overland Campaign was a series of battles that happened between the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, led by General Robert E. Lee and Union’s Army of the Potomac, led by the newly-promoted Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant. While many people think of the Civil War as being fought primarily between these two military leaders, this was, in fact, the first time they ever met across a battlefield.
Both had fought in the Mexican-American War some years earlier, but this was their first encounter as the leaders of opposing armies in the Civil War. Grant had been primarily involved in the war in the Western Theatre for the first three years, working his way through the ranks and participating in battles such as Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Lookout Mountain. Lee, in the Eastern Theatre, had faced off against a succession of Union generals and proved his almost uncanny ability to predict what they would do and lay his plans accordingly. He handed the Army of the Potomac their worst losses of the war.
When Lee met Grant, however, he met possibly the one Union general that defied his ability to predict his enemy. From the opening moves of the campaign to its conclusion and the beginning of the siege of Petersburg, Grant kept Lee
guessing. Handicapped by his inability to accurately predict this enemy, Lee was slowly forced back toward his capitol during a drive in which the two armies clashed on all but four days of the six-week campaign.
Exhausted, with their armies depleted and no other option remaining, the two generals settled in at Petersburg for a siege that would go on until the last week of the war. Both men had finally met their match.
Men Made of Iron: The Overland Campaign of 1864, explores the entire campaign in detail through the letters of the men who survived the unrelenting series of battles, marches, and hardships. Visit the Pearce Museum Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays, beginning March 1, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. General admission applies. NC employees and students come in free with id. For more information about the Pearce Museum, call 903-875-7642.