previous next

[122] heaviest loss in killed and mortally wounded fell on the 57th. Other regiments present were the 13th, 15th, 16th, 18th, 28th, 32d, 37th, with the 3d, 5th, 10th, 11th, 14th batteries, some of these having a few wounded but none killed.

In the efforts to cross the Totopotomoy River (May 29-31) the Massachusetts regiments incurring small losses in killed and mortally wounded were the 15th, 16th, 19th, 21st, 22d, 28th, 32d (the largest loss), 58th Infantry, the 1st Heavy Artillery and the 3d Battery. Other regiments engaged were the 12th and 20th, with the 9th and 14th batteries. Capt. D. C. Mumford (19th Mass.) was among the killed.

At Bethesda Church (June 1-3),—the action of the right wing at the terrible Cold Harbor,—the largest loss fell on the 36th Mass. Infantry (17 killed, 33 wounded) and next on the 32d and on the 21st; but also in a smaller degree on the 9th, 12th, 13th, 22d, 29th, 35th, 56th and 57th Infantry, and the 5th, 9th and 10th batteries. The 19th, 20th, 39th and 58th were also present, with the 11th and 14th batteries, but without loss.

The main battle of Cold Harbor (June 3)1 was perhaps the most unavailing, as it was the most desperate, battle of this Richmond campaign. Had the Confederate general controlled the action of both sides, he could have hardly had the battle conducted more to his liking than it was. He wished Grant to be the assaulting party, and was sure of his own entrenchments and of the disposition of his troops. Burnside at Petersburg hardly undertook a task more desperate, nor was his error so costly. ‘Out of the gray dawn, eighty thousand men rush forward upon the enemy in his entrenched lines, meet with a bloody repulse and retire to cover themselves with such works as they can most speedily erect to hold the advanced ground which some of them have gained. The assault has failed in a brief ten minutes. All the fighting is over in less than an hour. Eight thousand men have fallen. The enemy has lost but a tithe of this number.’2 Saddest of all was the vast number of wounded who expired in the narrow space between the hostile lines, on the days following the battle, simply from the inability of their own friends to succor them.

In this battle of Cold Harbor the most formidable loss fell on the 25th

1 Some historians, as Fox, treat Bethesda Church and Cold Harbor as separate engagements; others, like Walker, as but one battle. Fighting continued irregularly for twelve days, apart from the unavailing special assault which is identified in history with that day.

2 Dode's Bird's Eve View of our Civil War, p. 219.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
F. A. Walker (1)
D. C. Mumford (1)
Grant (1)
Thomas B. Fox (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
June 3rd (2)
June 1st (1)
May 31st (1)
May 29th (1)
21st (1)
9th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: