To the North Anna River - Cover
Goodreads Icon

To the North Anna River

Grant and Lee, May 13-25, 1864

Jules and Frances Landry Award

528 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / 13 Halftones, 29 Maps

Civil War

  Hardcover / 9780807125359 / April 2000
  Paperback / 9780807131114 / September 2005

With To the North Anna River, the third book in his outstanding five-book series, Gordon C. Rhea continues his spectacular narrative of the initial campaign between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee in the spring of 1864. May 13 through 25, a phase oddly ignored by historians, was critical in the clash between the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia. During those thirteen days—an interlude bracketed by horrific battles that riveted the public's attention—a game of guile and endurance between Grant and Lee escalated to a suspenseful draw on Virginia's North Anna River. From the bloodstained fields of the Mule Shoe to the North Anna River, with Meadow Bridge, Myers Hill, Harris Farm, Jericho Mills, Ox Ford, and Doswell Farm in between, grueling night marches, desperate attacks, and thundering cavalry charges became the norm for both Grant's and Lee's men. But the real story of May 13–25 lay in the two generals' efforts to outfox each other, and Rhea charts their every step and misstep. Realizing that his bludgeoning tactics at the Bloody Angle were ineffective, Grant resorted to a fast-paced assault on Lee's vulnerable points. Lee, outnumbered two to one, abandoned the offensive and concentrated on anticipating Grant's maneuvers and shifting quickly enough to repel them. It was an amazingly equal match of wits that produced a gripping, high-stakes bout of warfare—a test, ultimately, of improvisation for Lee and of perseverance for Grant. 

Gordon C. Rhea is the author of four previous books about the Overland Campaign, including The Battle of the Wilderness, May 5–6, 1864, winner of the Civil War Regiments Book Award; The Battles for Spotsylvania Court House and the Road to Yellow Tavern, May 7–12, 1864; and Cold Harbor: Grant and Lee, May 26–June 3, 1864, winner of the Austin Civil War Round Table’s Laney Prize.

Praise for To the North Anna River

“To the North Anna River superbly fills a gap in Grant’s campaign to defeat the Army of Northern Virginia. . . . This book is written with a rare verve that conveys all the gripping excitement of the battles and skirmishes from the Mule Shoe to the North Anna River and is an important contribution to Civil War scholarship.”—Journal of Southern History
“Rhea’s style is at once readable and complex, allowing experienced readers and novices alike to understand the complexity of the two aggressive and able generals. . . . To the North Anna River is an excellent history of one segment of a much longer campaign, with impeccable research leading to some new conclusions.”—Civil War Book Review
“Rhea tackles his subject with verve and gusto. The depth of his research is a benchmark for all future military histories of this period.”—Civil War History
“Civil War history at its best. . . . Rhea is a masterful writer.”—Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star
“The most comprehensive account of the fighting ever written.”—Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

Found an Error? Tell us about it.