previous next

[123] Mass. Infantry, which reported 300 for duty that morning and lost 69 killed or mortally wounded, including 6 officers, Capt. Thos. O'Neil, Lieuts. Wm. Daley, Henry McConville, Henry Matthews, Chas. H. Pelton and James Graham; the wounded and missing making up the total list of regimental casualties to 215,—more than two-thirds of the whole number.1 Another regiment suffering heavily was the 58th Mass., of which Fox says that it ‘moved against the works ... with a line whose steadiness and precision elicited praises from all who saw it, winning the compliments of both brigade and division commanders.’2 It lost 31 in killed and mortally wounded, including Maj. Barnabas Ewer, Jr., Capts. Chas. M. Upham and Thos. McFarland, with Lieut. W. H. Burbank; the 27th Mass. losing 32, including its major, William A. Walker, Capt. E. K. Wilcox, Lieuts. Frederick C. Wright, Samuel Morse and E. H. Coombs. The 28th lost fewer, but the loss included its colonel, Richard Byrnes, commanding brigade,3 and Lieut. James B. West. There fell also Capts. J. H. Baxter (22d Mass.) and C. F. Pray (18th Mass.) at Bethesda Church, Capt. R. J. Cowdin (56th Mass.), Lieut.-Col. G. E. Marshall, Lieuts. G. C. Bancroft and Edward Carleton (40th Mass.), John B. Thompson (19th Mass.). The whole loss of Massachusetts officers was not, however, more than two-thirds as great as at Spotsylvania, although considerably larger than at the Wilderness.4

General Grant recognized frankly that the charge ordered on June 3 at Cold Harbor was the one battle which he thoroughly regretted.5 He said: ‘Cold Harbor is, I think, the only battle I would not fight again under the circumstances,’ and again in his Personal Memoirs: ‘I have always regretted that the last assault at Cold Harbor was ever made.’ He had ordered Meade to suspend the attack whenever it should prove clearly hopeless, and the heavy fighting lasted less than an hour; but it has always been regarded as the greatest mistake of the war on the Union side.6

1 Fox's Regimental Losses, p. 167. Compare Casualties of War in Army and Navy Journal, XXV, 818. Putnam, in Co. A, 25th Mass. (p. 289), describes the fine charge of the 25th at Cold Harbor.

2 Fox, p. 176.

3 ‘An officer of the regular army; a good disciplinarian in camp; cool and resolute in action; mingling in just proportion impetuosity with sound judgment.’ Walker's 2d Corps, p. 512.

4 Official War Records, 67, pp. 134, 150, 181.

5 Young's Around the World with President Grant, II, 304. Grant's Memoirs, II, 276.

6 ‘It was as useless and almost as costly as Lee's attack upon Meade's centre at Gettysburg. But we do not read that any of Grant's lieutenants protested against it, as Longstreet protested against the attack on Cemetery Ridge.’ Johnson's Short History, p. 396.

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)
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 (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: