As "Grant Comes East" opens, the forces of General Robert E. Lee march to Washington, D.C., to launch an assault against one of the largest fortifications in the world. Lee knows that a frontal assault against such fortifications could devastate his army, but it is a price he fears must be paid for final victory. Beyond a military victory in the field, Lee must also overcome the defiant stand of President Abraham Lincoln, who vows that regardless of the defeat at Gettysburg, his solemn pledge to preserve the Union will be honoured. Lincoln will mobilize the garrison of Washington to hold on no matter what the costs. At the same time, Lincoln has appointed General Ulysses S. Grant as commander of all Union forces. Grant, fresh from his triumph at Vicksburg, races east, bringing with him his hardened veterans from Mississippi to confront Lee.