The battle of Cold Harbor was fought from May 31- June 12, 1864. Today it is known as one of the bloodiest engagements of the American civil war. This battle resulted in heavy losses of men for the Union and only a couple thousand for the Confederacy. It was part of General Grant's overland campaign for Richmond. Cold Harbor is located about ten miles from Richmond, Virginia in Hanover County. For the northern army the main commanders were Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant with the army of the Potomac and Maj. Gen. George G. Meade. Under them they had an army of 108,000 men. The Confederacy only had one major commander which was General Robert E. Lee and the Northern Virginia army. His troops were considerably out numbered only ranging up to 60,000 men. On May 31, 1864 General Grant ordered Major General Philip Sheridan and his cavalry to capture the crossroads of old Cold Harbor. There he met General Lee's horseman. They battled each other until Confederate infantry and Union reinforcements arrived. After a short battle the Union cavalry drove the rebels back past the crossroads where they would found new positions a half mile away. The next day sporadic fighting occurred between the two forces. With their new repeating rifles General Sheridan held off General Kershaw and General Hokes confederate infantry. This attack quickly fell short due to coordination issues. Later on that day, even more reinforcements arrived for each side. With the success of pushing back the rebels General Grant launched an attack but it was delayed. At 5 p.m. on that same day the attack began. The attack only captured part of the Confederate lines because of a counterattack. This ended the fighting for the rest of the day. That night the confederates strengthened their lines for the day to come. On June 2nd fighting continued. With the few successes of the day before Grant ordered another attack for 5 a.m. He ordered General Hancock's II corps to march left of the VI...
Cited: "Battle of Cold Harbor." Encyclopedia Americana. 2004 ed.
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