Wednesday, May 18, 1864
Union General Ulysses S. Grant attempted to break Confederate General Robert E. Lee's line near the Muleshoe salient with a series of attacks that began at dawn. Lee's artillery, along with infantry positioned behind strong entrenchments, repelled the attacks. The nearly two week-long battle of Spotsylvania, one of the costliest of the Civil War, came to an end with neither side claiming victory. Casualties for both armies were staggering, with the count of dead and wounded approximating 18,000 for the Union and 12,000 for the Confederacy.
At day's end Grant planned once again to move south toward Richmond around the Confederate flank to draw Lee out of his entrenchments and force a battle on Grant's terms.1
1Richard F. Miller, Harvard's Civil War: A History of the Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (Lebanon, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 2005), 362-71.