On May 23, 1864, Grant pursued Lee's army to the banks of the North Anna River. Lee anchored the center of his line at a point on the river known as Ox Ford and then drew back each flank of his army into an inverted V shape, thereby forcing a division of the Union army into three sections. It was a brilliant plan, yet Lee was beginning to show strain from constant pursuit and battles with Grant. Robert E. Lee laid ill on his cot and failed to strike in what was perhaps his last chance to defeat the Union army. The battle ended in stalemate and Grant withdrew and marched on toward Richmond.

Visiting the North Anna Battlefield

Your best bet to tour The Battle of North Anna is to start by following the National Park Service driving tour. Although most of the battlefield is now privately-owned residential and agricultural property, you can still see remnants of the old Telegraph Road and a Confederate redoubt. For the most part the tour follows lightly-travelled, scenic country roads that are suitable for cycling. If you are cycling, avoid the portions of the tour that take you onto Route 1 which is a busy highway. Tour Stop 5 takes you to North Anna Battlefield Park , a Hanover County park at the Ox Ford site of the battle. Plan to spend some time here at the park, where you can actually stand at the tip of Lee's Inverted V formation and see many fine examples of Confederate earthworks.

North Anna Battlefield Park consists of two trails. The Gray Trail is a 2-mile round trip on a gravel road that is a little hilly, and in one area has a wooden stair case built into a steep incline, thereby limiting the accessibility of this trail for some people. Otherwise, the trail is easy and well marked with new signs and viewing areas. The Blue Trail is a strenuous 3-mile round trip from the Gray Trail over rugged terrain, and as of this writing, some markers are missing. If you do venture onto the Blue Trail, make sure your footwear and fitness level are up to it and bring plenty of water.

Visit Civil War Trust for battle details and information about the preservation of this battlefield.

Pictured at the top: North Anna Battlefield Park has walking trails, interpretive signs, viewing platforms and many fine examples of Confederate earthworks that rival those at Cold Harbor.

north anna battlefield park exhibit

Except as noted above, the Gray Trail is an easy, well-marked trail along a gravel road in a forest. The trail features many fine examples of original Confederate trenches.

north anna battlefield park exhibit

North Anna Battlefield Park is a 172-acre county park located at the site of the Ox Ford area of the Battle of North Anna.