Cold Harbor 3 June 1864

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Map Code: Ax01990

The Battle of Cold Harbor was the last battle of the Overland Campaign of Union Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant’s, a sequence of simultaneous offences against Confederate positions. Cold Harbor was at a crossroads, 10 miles (16 km) north of Virginia’s capital, Richmond. After Union cavalrymen captured Old Cold Harbor crossroads on 31 May, a Confederate counterattack on 1 June failed to push them back. Grant postponed a further assault until 3 June to allow reinforcements to rest. Major General George Meade oversaw tactics and in dense fog and darkness, early on 3 June, the Union army launched a frontal attack against Confederate fortifications. The Union corps became disoriented in the darkness and fog, and mired in swamps and heavy vegetation. The Confederates held firm and sustained minor losses, while the Union army lost some 7,000 men. Grant refused to admit defeat, despite Union General William Farrar Smith’, protestations. Nine days of gruelling trench warfare ensued, ending in Confederate victory.

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