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In May 1864 General Ulysses S. Grant moved a huge Federal army into an area of Virginia west of Fredericksburg known as the Wilderness, which he only wanted to use as a passageway. Rather than attack General Robert E. Lee's army entrenched along the south bank of the Rapidan River, Grant planned to force Lee out of his strong defensive position, compelling him either to fight on terrain selected by the Federal or to fall back toward the Confederate capital in Richmond.