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[469] to grief, through the operations of General Early, as related in a subsequent chapter.

In these two Cold Harbor battles, of June 1st and 3d, Grant lost fully 10,000 men, of his 110,000, the larger portion of them in the assault on the 3d. From the time of his crossing the Pamunkey up to the date of his retreat to the James, on the night of the 12th, he had lost over 14,000 men, besides the 3,000 sick that he had sent to the North, reducing his numbers by over 17,000. Lee's losses were about 1,700 of his 58,000, but 3 percent.

In fleeing from Lee's front, on the 3d, Grant left the ground intervening between Lee's and his own intrenchments, strewn with wounded, who lay exposed to intense heat and the glare of a June sun, enduring suffering that cannot be described, until the 5th; Grant, unwilling, thinking it a confession of defeat, as it really was, to send a flag of truce and ask permission to remove them. When he did send, it was with the remarkable proposition, ‘that hereafter, when no battle is raging, either party be authorized to send, to any point between the pickets or skirmish lines, unarmed men, bearing litters, to pick up their dead or wounded, without being fired upon by the other party.’ Lee made reply that Grant should follow the regular course and ask for a truce. This he did, but to find his wounded men dead and to blame Lee for the delay. Gen. F. A. Walker, in his history of Hancock's corps, writes: ‘If it be asked why so simple a duty of humanity as the rescue of the wounded and the burial of the dead had been thus neglected, it is answered that it was due to an unnecessary scruple on the part of the Union commander-in-chief. Grant delayed sending a flag of truce to General Lee for this purpose because it would amount to an admission that he had been beaten on the 3d of June. It now seems incredible that he should, for a moment, have supposed that any other view could be taken of that action.’

At two of the afternoon of the 3d, Grant dispatched to Halleck:

We assaulted at 4:30 this morning, driving the enemy within his intrenchments at all points, but without gaining any decisive advantage. Our troops now occupy a position close to the enemy, some places within 50 yards, and are intrenching. Our loss was not severe, nor do I suppose the enemy to have lost heavily.

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