American Battlefield Trust’s map of the Battle of Cold Harbor
By June 2, both armies faced each other along a seven-mile front that extended from Bethesda Church to the Chickahominy River. That day, Grant had planned a major assault on Lee’s right to cut off the Confederates from Richmond, but when Hancock's II Corps arrived after a 12-mile, midnight march too fatigued to attack, the operation was postponed until the following day. Before dawn on June 3, the II, VI and XVIII Corps in the main assault, and the IX and V Corps to the north, moved forward along the Bethesda Church-Cold Harbor line and were mostly slaughtered, incurring almost 7,000 casualties. Francis C. Barlow’s II Corps division briefly achieved a breakthrough in John C. Breckenridge’s position but was repulsed. By noon, the corps commanders were advising against further attacks. Grant commented in his memoirs that this was the only attack he wished he had never ordered. The armies remained in these lines until the night of June 12, when Grant again advanced by his left flank, marching to the James River.