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[441] attempt, he discovered that: the Confederate army was interposed between his two wings, which were also separated by the North Anna, and that the one could give no support to the other except by a double crossing of the river. That the Confederate commander did not seize the opportunity to strike his embarrassed foe and avail himself of the advantage which his superior generalship had gained, may have been that, concluding from past observation of Grant's tactics, he felt assured that the ‘continuous hammering’ process was to be repeated without reference to circumstances or position. If Lee acted on this supposition, he was mistaken, as the Federal commander, profiting by the severe lessons of Spotsylvania and the Wilderness, with cautious, noiseless movement withdrew under cover of the night of the 26th to the north side of the North Anna, and moved eastward down to the Pamunkey River.

At Hanover Junction General Lee was joined by Pickett's division of Longstreet's corps, which had been on detached service in North Carolina, and by a small force under General Breckinridge from southwestern Virginia, twenty-two hundred strong. Hoke's brigade of Early's division, twelve hundred strong, which had been on detached duty at the junction, here also rejoined its division. On the 29th the whole of Grant's army was across the Pamunkey, while General Lee's army on the next day was in line of battle with his left at Atlee's Station. By another movement eastward the two armies were brought face to face at Cold Harbor on June 3d. Here fruitless efforts were made by General Grant to pierce or drive back the forces of General Lee. Our troops were protected by temporary earthworks, and while under cover of these were assailed by the enemy:

But in vain. The assault was repulsed along the whole line, and the carnage on the Federal side was fearful. I1 well recall having received a report, after the assault, from General Hoke—whose division reached the army just previous to this battle—to the effect that the ground in his entire front, over which the enemy had charged, was literally covered with their dead and wounded; and that up to that time he had not had a single man killed. No wonder that, when the command was given to renew the assault, the Federal soldiers sullenly and silently declined. The order2 was issued through the officers to their subordinate commanders, and from them descended through the wonted channels; but no man stirred, and the immobile lines pronounced a verdict, silent yet emphatic, against further slaughter. The loss on the Union side in this sanguinary action was over thirteen thousand, while on the part of the Confederates it is doubtful whether it reached that many hundreds. After some disingenuous proposals, General Grant finally asked a truce to enable him to bury his dead. Soon after

1 Taylor, Four Years With General Lee.

2 Swinton, Army of the Potomac, p. 487.

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