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FROM-- SET FOUR, CIVIL WAR STUDIES

21 Readings About the Great Battles of the Civil War #13: Two Battles of Cold Harbor

      Two engagements of the American Civil War at Cold Harbor, 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Richmond, Va., the Confederate capital.

      The first battle (June 27, 1862), sometimes called the Battle of Gaines's Mill, was part of the Seven Days' Battles (June 25-July 1) which ended the Peninsular Campaign (April 4-July 1), the large-scale Union effort to take Richmond. After fighting at Mechanicsville and Beaver Dam Creek, General George B. McClellan ordered Union troops to high ground between Gaines's Mill and Cold Harbor.  When Confederate General Robert E. Lee attacked on June 27, the Union troops were driven back in disorder and withdrew to the south side of the Chickahominy River.

       The second Battle of Cold Harbor (June 3-12, 1864) is considered one of the worst Northern defeats in the Civil War, though its subsequent effect was negligible. Following the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House (May 8-19), Union General Ulysses S. Grant advanced southward toward Richmond in a series of flanking movements. Confederate troops under General Robert E. Lee at Cold Harbor entrenched themselves in defensive positions behind earthworks. From these, Union assaults were repulsed with heavy losses. Because of Grant's vast numbers (more than 100,000 men), his losses of about 7,000 (compared with fewer than 1,500 for Lee) did not deter him from continuing to Petersburg later that month in his drive toward Richmond.


From Wikepedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Cold_Harbor

Battle of Cold Harbor

 
Battle of Cold Harbor.png
Battle of Cold Harbor by Kurz and Allison, 1888.
Date May 31 June 12, 1864
Location Hanover County,
near Mechanicsville, Virginia

 
Result Confederate victory
Belligerents
 United States (Union)  CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
Ulysses S. Grant
George G. Meade
Robert E. Lee
Units involved
Army of the Potomac
XVIII Corps (Army of the James)
Army of Northern Virginia
Strength
108,000 59,000
Casualties and losses
12,737 total
1,844 killed
9,077 wounded
1,816 captured/missing
5,287 total
788 killed
3,376 wounded
1,123 captured/missing

       An Excerpt from a Diary Diary of Sargeant McCulloughfrom the Battle of Cold Harbor Battle

       Wednesday June 1st Intensely warm. The Yankees are again in motion to day, and A.P. Hill is in pursuit. Last night a detail from the Battalion was sent out to throw up breastworks for the M_d Battery. A slight shelling has been going on, at intervals, through the whole day.

       Thursday June 2nd Still continues warm. This morning, about one oclock, we were awaked, and marched to Mechanicsville, where we arrived about day break, enamped here a short time, marched three miles, encamped in a dense woods -- we were moved again half a mile farther, to the shade of a few straggling pine trees. Here we remained 'till our division reached us, when we took out position in the line. Marched again, through an intense and suffocating heat and dust, to Gain's farm (the old battle field) Saw some partially exhumed Yankee [frames?] Just as we arrived on the field, our boys charged the enemy's line and broke it. In the afternoon, about twilight, we were moved forward as the support, Echols Brigade, which charged the enemy in his fortifications and drove them in disorder before it. We remained on the field all night in a drizzling rain. About dusk, Gen. Breckinridge and staff rode up on a small hill & a short time after he retired, two heavy lines of battle advanced and took position just in our rear.

       Friday June 3rd Changeable. Last night the enemy made several final demonstrations against our lines, but were easily repulsed. This occasioned however, the formation of our line of battle each time. The enemy this morning, about [4?]1/2 oclock, made an assault in three heavy columns against our fortifications, and by reason of overwhelming numbers, compelled our men to retire. They fell back in great disorder upon our Battalion, when we had to charge and right [nobly?] was it done. One we went across the ravine, up the hill, and drove them, although superior in numbers to us in confusion and with great loss across the breastworks. I fell wounded by a sharpshooter ten yards from the entrenchments, but had the satisfaction of seeing the bluebellies lying in heaps in front of me. Was carried off the field by Hillman & Johnson whom I detailed for that purpose & had an exceedingly unpleasant time in going through the wet and tangled undergrowth and marshy woods, the enemy shelling us furiously. My wound was dressed by Dr. McGill, of Hagerstown. Marshal Kane was in my farm today. Services were also held in the barn today. Private [Hurley?], of my Company, was killed just before the charge.

       Sunday June 5th Weather the same. Was removed from the barn to the ambulance, and fainted whilst they were putting me in. Was taken to the train, & about dusk, arrived in Richmond. After a very rough ride, arrived at Chimborazo Hospital where I passed a comparatively comfortable night. Was placed in ward (M) Div. No. 2.

       Monday June 6th Clear & very warm. Passed a very disagreeable day, by reason of the suffocating heat. Had an injection operation performed on me today, and fainted while I was up. Changed my under clothing today the first time for four weeks. Made application to be transfered to ward M, Div. No. 5. I am at present in ward M, Div. No. 2.

       Wednesday June 8 Clear. My wound pains me a little more than usual to day, but the medicines have been taking for days past are, at least, beginning to rectify my bowels & head. Passed a very uncomfortable & restless night.

       Thursday June 9 Warm & windy. My wound pains me a great deal today. It has commenced to [mor?]. Sent a letter of 9 pages home. Enclosing one Photograph. Bought a piece of sponge to day for my own individual purposes. Private [Chilcutt?] of my Co. came to see me today.

       Friday June 10 '64 Clear. [Kautz's?] Cavalry 6,000 strong, made a bold and determined attack upon Petersburg on yesterday and at one time, had our entrenchments, but were finally driven back by the militia. My wound pains me severely at times.

       Saturday June 11 '64 Still clear & warm. My wound gave me more pain today that it has at any time, since I have been wounded. There was a Hemorrage of my wound today. The holes are enlarging. Capt. Torsch came to see me today.

       Sunday June 12 Clear. Capt. [McAleer?] came to see me today. Had an egg-nogg & a lemonade made for me today. Heavy firing has been heard all day in the direction of the army. Wound [?] very freely today. My pants, which I thought were lost, came in today. Took a very severe cold in my face last night.

       Monday June 13 Clear. Grant is reported falling back to the White House & Ewell marching for the Valley. My wound is improving slowly.

       Tuesday June 14 Clear.  Awoke this morning with my head & throat so stopped up that I could scarcely talk. This is caused by the nature of the medication I am taking. I am excessively weak today.

From http://www2.vcdh.virginia.edu/fellows/chdoc23.html


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