11 Dec 2017

Save The Cold Harbor Battlefield

Save The Cold Harbor Battlefield

If you’re like me, you know the story of the Battle of Cold Harbor. You know that on June 3, 1864, General Ulysses S. Grant ordered a massive assault against Robert E. Lee’s army across a seven-mile wide front approximately nine miles northeast of Richmond, Virginia. The Union assault was disjointed, with some troops going forward as ordered and others holding back. Even worse, the Yankees marched into the teeth of extremely well-entrenched Confederates who cut them down wholesale. The affair was so one-sided that Grant later wrote that he “always regretted” the attack on June 3, 1864.

But there is another part of the story of Cold Harbor, one that is often glossed over in history. On June 1, 1864 two days before the infamous seven-mile wide assault Union and Confederate troops fought at Cold Harbor with much different results.

Early on June 1, Lee ordered a portion of his command to attack Union cavalry who had seized the Old Cold Harbor crossroads. The Yankee horsemen easily repulsed the Confederates, who then pulled back and began to dig in. Hoping to strike the Rebels before they completed their entrenchments, Grant ordered the Sixth and Eighteenth Corps to attack. After brushing aside Confederate skirmishers, the Federals engaged in a fierce struggle with Lee’s men, much of it hand-to-hand, over the incomplete breastworks. Darkness ultimately ended the fighting on June 1, with the Southerners falling back to the line they would later occupy on June 3.

My friends, you and I have the historic opportunity to save five crucial tracts totaling 55 acres at Cold Harbor. This is some of the most important land left save at Cold Harbor, including the land over which the Yankees charged in their fight on June 1, and a portion of the line held by Confederates during the fighting on June 3. This is hallowed ground indeed.

Help us preserve the memory of those Americans who fought and died on this land in 1864 by saving these 55 acres. Help save Cold Harbor.


American Battlefield Trust

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