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Old church hotel near Cold Harbor: four days after the cavalry clash of May 30, 1864. The very attitude of the rough and ready cavalryman with his curved saber shows the new confidence in itself of the Federal cavalry as reorganized by Sheridan in April, 1864. Here the photographer has caught a cavalry detail at one of the typical cross-roads taverns that played so important a part in the Virginia campaigns of that year. So successful is the picture that even the rude lettering “Old Church Hotel” on the quaint, old fashioned swinging sign can be made out. The scene is typical of the times. The reorganized Federal cavalry was proving of the greatest help to Grant in locating the enemy, particularly ahead of the main column as in the case of the fight at Old Church. In Grant's advance toward Richmond from North Anna, Sheridan's cavalry corps served as an advance guard. Torbert and Gregg with the First and Second Divisions formed the guard for the left flank. On May 27th Torbert crossed the Pamunkey at Hanover Ferry, captured Hanover Town, took part the following day in the sanguinary struggle at Hawes' Shop, and on the 29th picketed the country about Old Church Hotel seen in the picture, and toward Cold Harbor. At 4 P. M. on May 30th, the clash at Old Church took place, and it was necessary to put in General Merritt with the Reserve Brigade. The photograph was taken on June 4th, the day after the battle of Cold Harbor where the Federal loss was so severe. The horses look sleek and well-conditioned in spite of the constant marching and fighting.

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North Anna (Virginia, United States) (1)

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Alfred T. A. Torbert (2)
Philip Henry Sheridan (2)
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