The Battle of the Wilderness marked the first stage of a major Union offensive toward the Confederate capital of Richmond, ordered by the newly named Union General-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant in the spring of 1864. As the Army of the Potomac crossed the Rapidan River on May 4, Confederate General Robert E. Lee determined that his Army of Northern Virginia would confront the enemy in the dense Virginia woods known as the Wilderness. Familiar terrain for the rebels, the heavy woods and dense undergrowth also negated the Union’s numerical advantage–115,000 to 65,000–by making it nearly impossible for a large army to make an orderly advance. Two days of bloody and chaotic combat followed, ending in tactical Confederate victory, but a strategic victory for the Union army, despite the heavy casualties suffered. In the end, after the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, Grant refused to retreat, and instead ordered his battered troops to continued southward in what would be a long and costly–but ultimately successful–campaign.