Talk:Battle of the Wilderness

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Mistake[edit]

I'm afraid the Image in the middle of the article (left hand) is referring to the Battle of Chancellorsville (May 1864), not to the Battle of the Wilderness (July 1864). Bye. --Cloj 20:53, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Mmmm... Sorry! The mistake was mine. The above image is correct (not my brain in effect...). Any way I can't see it normally. --Cloj 21:23, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

No, the image is incorrect because Stonewall had died a year ago before the Battle of the Wilderness. It is an imgae of the Battle of Chancellorsville, I believe.Znitrx 20:50, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

What image are you discussing? Hal Jespersen 22:27, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Walmart supercenter in the middle of the map!?[edit]

Whats with the walmart supercenter thing in the middle of the map!? Some one should fix that.I don't know how.Zanerobinette (talk) 19:18, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

That map is there specifically to show the proposed Walmart location as part of the battlefield preservation section. If you mean how to fix Walmart's proposal, contact the CWPT. Hal Jespersen (talk) 22:17, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Battle Results[edit]

I just noticed something a little odd. Please look at the results listed in each of these battles on their respective wiki pages:

1. Antietam - Tactically inconclusive; strategic Union victory

2. Chancellorsville - Confederate victory

3. Wilderness - Inconclusive (Union offensive continued)

In my opinion, the results for Battle of the Wilderness should either be Tactically inconclusive; strategic Union victory (i.e, the same as Antietam), or the results for Antietam should be Tactically inconclusive (Confederate offensive stopped).

And if the latter, then the Battle of Chancellorsville should read, Tactically inconclusive (Union offensive stopped). Personally, I would go with the following:

1. Antietam - Tactically inconclusive; strategic Union victory

2. Chancellorsville - Tactically inconclusive; strategic Confederate victory

3. Wilderness - Tactically inconclusive; strategic Union victory

I think this would make more sense, especially since the only difference between Chancellorsville and Wilderness was whether or not the Union offensive continued or was stopped. Also, since Grant (at Wilderness) suffered more casualties than Hooker (at Chancellorsville), what we call the former should also be applied to the latter (i.e., in terms of language). What do you all think? Bill the Cat 7 (talk) 21:34, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Antietam is considered a strategic Union victory for the reasons explained in the article -- although the battle was essentially a draw, it not only ended Lee's first invasion of the North, it gave Lincoln the confidence to issue his Emancipation Proclamation. Some authors, notably James M. McPherson, consider Antietam to be the turning point of the war because of that. Chancellorsville was a clear-cut victory in the opinion of virtually every historian, even given the severe losses in Lee's smaller army. And I know of no historian who would consider the Wilderness to be a Union strategic victory. It was the first important battle in a campaign that was itself inconclusive. The Overland Campaign positioned Grant for his eventual victory, but that was two campaigns (in Virginia, that is) and 11 months later. Hal Jespersen (talk) 01:42, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Hey Hal. You said, "Antietam is considered a strategic Union victory for the reasons explained in the article -- although the battle was essentially a draw". Yes, I very much agree. No problem there. :)
Then you said, "Chancellorsville was a clear-cut victory in the opinion of virtually every historian...."
Once again, I agree that the BOC was a "victory" for the Confederates. But - and this is the important part - was it a tactical victory, a strategic victory, or a mix? If the BOC was a Confederate tactical victory, on what basis do historians say that? The number of casualties? No. Grant suffered greater loses in the Battle of the Wilderness (BOTW) as a %, so wouldn't that mean that the BOTW was a confederate tactical victory (as the article itself says in the Aftermath section, but yet says it was inconclusive in the summary section at the top-right)? Consider this:
Union casualties at the BOTW: 17.3%
Confederate casualites at the BOTW: 12.3%
This tells me that the BOTW was a Confederate tactical victory, but a Union strategic victory because it did not force Grant to retreat. Grant moved forward. Yet...
Union casualties at Chancellorsville: 12.8%
Confederate casualties at Chancellorsville: 22%
This tells me that the BOC was tactically inconconclusive (since Hooker wasn't forced to retreat for military reasons; he lost his nerve), but a strategic Confederate victory (since Hookers offensive was stopped). After all, if the result of the Battle of Antietam is described as "Tactically inconclusive; strategic Union victory", then the BOC cannot logically use different language. That is, the BOC was tactically inconclusive; Confederate strategic victory.
Let me add that I'm not disputing ANYTHING that the majority of historians are saying with regards to victory/loss. I'm only trying to set ground rules for the language of victory/loss in wiki ACW articales on two levels: tactical and strategic.
Therefore, let me again propose the following language in regards to a battle victory/loss:
I. Simple Results
a. Union victory (e.g., Battle of Champions Hill, Malvern Hill, Shiloh)
b. Union decisive victory (e.g., Battle of Nashville)
c. Confederate victory (e.g., Battle of Chickamauga, Fredericksburg)
d. Confederate decisive victory (e.g., Battle of 2nd Bull Run? Jackson's valley campaign?)
II. Mixed Results
a. Tactical Union victory; Confederate strategic victory (e.g., Battle of Franklin)
b. Tactical Confederate victory; Union strategic victory (e.g., BOTW, for reasons mentioned above, )
c. Tactically inconclusive; Union strategic victory (e.g, the Battle of Antietam)
d. Tactically inconclusive; Confederate strategic victory (e.g., the Battle of Chancellorsville, for reasons mentioned above) Bill the Cat 7 (talk) 03:02, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Historians rarely use numbers or percentages of casualties to determine the victor of a battle. They examine the goals of the two armies and see which one achieved the goals. Hooker's goal at Chancellorsville was to double-envelop Lee's army and destroy it, then to march on Richmond and end the war. He failed and withdrew. Lee succeeded, although at a relatively high cost. Chancellorsville was an unambiguous Confederate victory. (Whether it was a strategic victory or not is arguable, which is one of the reasons we rarely use that term in these information boxes. The victory at Chancellorsville ultimately did nothing to advance the strategic position of the Confederacy.) At the Wilderness, Grant's objective was to destroy Lee's army and Lee's objective was to avoid that and force Grant to withdraw behind the Rappahannock, as his predecessors had. Neither general succeeded and therefore the battle was inconclusive. The use of the term "strategic victory" can be justified for Antietam because historians can show a direct link between the aftermath of that battle and the ultimate end of the war. Hal Jespersen (talk) 15:25, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
A tactical victory is described here: [[1]].
A decisive victory is described here: [[2]].
A strategic victory is described here [[3]] (note, especially, what this article says about the Battle of Antietam).
Therefore, your statement that:
Historians rarely use numbers or percentages of casualties to determine the victor of a battle.
is not valid. Sorry. Bill the Cat 7 (talk) 05:14, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Aftermath section[edit]

I added a quote from McPherson to the Aftermath section in order to explain the significance of the battle results. Please let me know how it looks. Thanks. Bill the Cat 7 (talk) 00:16, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Regarding comment from Kresock about the quote from McPherson: "it's pretty big; do we need all of it, as some of this is already in the main text?"
I tried to make the quote as brief as possible. However, I don't think the significance of the quote can be condensed any more than it already is. What Grant did after the battle was never done before May 1864, and the effect it had on the Army of the Potomatc (which was lacking in the previous version), as well as the course of the campaign and the war itself cannot be understated. I mean, it was huge, and it's like not mentioning the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation in the Battle of Antietam article.
The second paragraph can be condensed, perhaps, but in my opinion, it breaks up the context. I'm open to suggestions though. Bill the Cat 7 (talk) 02:03, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
Looks good to me. Not too long, very pertinent and exact in what it says. Let's keep the whole thing. Ratagonia (talk) 15:10, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks! Bill the Cat 7 (talk) 00:52, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

GA review[edit]

This article IMHO is nowhere near GA standard. While the references are adequate for B Class, more in line citations are required for GA. It would be better for the nominator to remove the nomination to work on the article, than to have it failed.Jim Sweeney (talk) 15:39, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

I am not the nominator, but as the principal author and maintainer of the article, I also recommend withdrawing the nomination or failing the proposal, whichever is easier. Hal Jespersen (talk) 22:57, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
Nomination withdrawn, it can of course be resubmitted when ready.Jim Sweeney (talk) 08:54, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

How many references would be needed to bring this up to GA-class? Wild Wolf (talk) 20:05, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Every point and statement would need a cite to a reliable source. Jim Sweeney (talk) 20:51, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Gen. J.H. Hobart Ward[edit]

This general isn't mentioned in this article, though his own wikipedia article says he was discharged for misconduct during this battle. Yet his article also mentions he received a head wound at the subsequent battle of Spottsylvania. I don't have the time (nor am I in a location) to do the research, but IMHO either his name needs clearing or a link could be added to explain ptsd/head injury treatment during the Civil War.Jweaver28 (talk) 14:30, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

I checked Gordon Rhea's book on the Wilderness and Ward only warrants a footnote, so I don't think it's appropriate to include anything in this article about the incident, but he was accused of running from the enemy without any attempt to rally his retreating men, until one of Hancock's aides persuaded him to do so. It is unclear from the various sources exactly why he was relieved on May 12. The simple biographic references, such as Ezra Warner's, suggest that he was relieved because of his action and drunkenness at the Wilderness, but Rhea cites Francis Walker's History of the Second Army Corps as stating that David B. Birney relieved him on May 12 when he discovered him drunk on that day. Perhaps it was a combination of both. Hal Jespersen (talk) 16:50, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

The Wilderness[edit]

From the article it is unclear to me if the Wilderness is a name of an actual geographical place or if it is the wilderness with the meaning "an unsettled and uncultivated tract of land left in its natural state", as Wiktionary puts it. If it is a geographical place I suggest a link to be added the first time it is used to highlight that fact (even if no article exists yet). Best, Jopparn (talk) 21:20, 26 February 2014 (UTC)