View single post by connyankee
 Posted: Sun Feb 10th, 2008 06:30 pm
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Joined: Sun Sep 4th, 2005
Location: Colchester, Connecticut USA
Posts: 83

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PvtClewell, I believe you hit the nail right on it's head with your last post (and others as well). Nice job!  Don't I wish to be so eloquent.  My short answer to the question of whether Grant should have attacked is "Why not?"  That's what he'd been doing all along - battering, probing the defenses to find a weakness.

It's important, I think, to view the spring campaign like Rhea does - one continuous battle.  The reason he is one of the leading "experts" is because he advances the thought that the nature or character of the fighting changed after Gettysburg - at least in the east.  It is indeed difficult to look at Cold Harbor without looking at North Anna, or Spotsylvania before that, or the Wilderness before that.

The attack failed on June 3 because the ANV had three days to entrench.  Your mention of Theodore Lyman rang a bell with me.  He believed that every minute of delay made the Confederate earthworks that much stronger when he said, "It is a rule that, when the rebels halt, the first day gives them a good rifle pit, the second, a regular infantry parapet with artillery in position; and the third a parapet with an abatis in front and entrenched batteries behind.  Sometimes they put this three-days work into the first twenty four hours." 

As for losses, I think we could also agree that Lee had at least comparable losses at Malvern Hill in '62 as Grant's on June 3, 1864.

This is a fun discussion because much has been written about Grant's disaster at Cold Harbor.  Less has been written about the lost opportunities of both sides.  This is a perfect scenario if you like being a "What if'er."  I am  definately not one of those, but it does sometimes make for good discussion.






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