Zack C. Waters


General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, by the middle of May 1864, was in serious trouble. The army still was a dangerous and effective fighting force, but major problems were beginning to surface. Casualties and command failures had crippled the officer corps, and three years of hard fighting had slowly sapped the strength of the southern army. Now it was facing an opponent in Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant who would neither retreat following defeat, nor give them the time necessary to recuperate. To solve his manpower problems, Lee’s only choice was to find replacement troops. That meant shifting troops from other commands to Virginia and scraping the bottom of the barrel to see if some garrison troops could be located.