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IV. Cold Harbor

[After Spotsylvania the Confederate Army was gradually forced back on Richmond. At Cool Arbor, or Cold Harbor as it is usually called, almost in sight of the southern capital, Grant ordered a frontal attack of the strongly entrenched enemy. The engagement was unsuccessful and the Union losses heavy. This battle has been much criticized, and is considered the most severe blemish on Grant's military reputation. He now determined to make for the James River. Leaving Richmond to the west, the army marched south, and the advanced guard reached the river on June 13. The Army of the Potomac was moved across the James, and took up its position in the neighborhood of City Point — a district already in the possession of Federal forces, which had advanced up the river under Butler.

The loss of the Union Army, from the time it crossed the Rapidan 122,000 strong until it reached the James, was within a few men of 55,000, which was almost equal to Lee's whole force in the Wilderness. The Confederate loss is unknown, but it was certainly very much smaller.1]

Headquarters Army of Potomac Sunday evening, May 22, 18642
I don't know when I have felt so peaceful — everything goes by contrast. We are camped, this lovely evening, in

1 J. F. Rhodes, History of the United States, IV, 40, 447.

2Gen. Meade said to me at breakfast: ‘I am afraid the rebellion cannot be crushed this summer!’ ” --Lyman's Journal.

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