Cold Harbor

Cold Harbor - 7th New York Heavy Artillery
Library of Congress

Cold Harbor

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After two days of inconclusive fighting along Totopotomoy Creek northeast of Richmond, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Gen. Robert E. Lee turned their sights on the crossroads of Cold Harbor. Roads emanating through this critical junction led to Richmond as well as supply and reinforcement sources for the Union army. On May 31, 1864, Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan’s cavalry captured Cold Harbor. The next day, Sheridan held the crossroads against a Confederate attack. With reinforcements from both armies arriving on the field, Grant launched an assault on the evening of June 1 with the VI and XVIII Corps. The Union infantry gained ground which emboldened Grant to launch another assault two days later. Before dawn on June 3, elements from five Union army corps attacked the Confederate entrenchments, only to be massacred by Lee's infantry. Both sides remained in place for a week. Unable to destroy Lee, Grant decided to disengage and move on the Confederate rail center of Petersburg in the middle of June. 

Battle Facts

Result

Confederate Victory
COMMANDERS
Forces Engaged
170,000

Union

108,000

Confederate

62,000
Total Estimated Casualties
17,332

Union

12,737
1,844
killed
9,077
wounded
1,816
missing & captured

Confederate

4,595
83
killed
3,380
wounded
1,132
missing & captured