"The Civil War" Valley of the Shadow of Death (1864) (TV Episode 1990) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • By 1864, Union forces had the upper hand, though the end of war was not yet in sight. President Lincoln named U.S. Grant overall commander of the Union army, 533,000 strong and the largest army in the world. He was made him a three star Lieutenant General, a rank last held by George Washington. He brought a different approach than his predecessors choosing to aggressively pursue Lee's army realizing that to do so would likely see them take control of Richmond. Success was not assured and did not come quickly. Their first encounter went to Lee but Grant used a flanking maneuver to push Lee's army ever closer to Richmond. The confederate side suffered a major blow with the death of J.E.B. Stuart, perhaps Lee's most trusted General. At Cold Harbor, Grant suffered a terrible defeat, losing thousands of men. He subsequently bypassed Richmond and went further south to Petersburg and dug in, leading to a long siege. Grant ordered Gen. Sherman to push toward and eventually attack Atlanta. Time was running out for Lincoln who was facing reelection and would likely lose if Union forces did not soon have a major victory.


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