A no-frills day-by-day account of what was happening 150 years ago, this blog is intended to be a way that we can experience or remember the Civil War with more immediacy, in addition to understanding the flow of time as we live in it.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
June 3, 1864
of Cold Harbor
31-June 12, 1864
Day 3:General Ulysses S. Grant orders the grand
attack to be made at 4:30 in the morning.After an artillery barrage, the corps of Hancock and Wright went
forward.Smith’s XVIII Corps was not yet
engaged.Gen. Barlow’s division had the
most success: even with heavy losses, they captured the first line of
Confederate works.Gen. Gibbon’s
division, on his flank, was broken up by a patch of swampy ground that had to
be skirted.Two of Gibbon’s brigade
commanders were killed, and his advance stalled.Wright’s VI Corps made an attack that was tepid
at best.The incredible rate of rifle
and cannon fire from the Confederate works was deadly.By some reports, most of the 7,000 Federal
casualties this day fell during the first 30 minutes of the attack.
As Smith’s corps goes forward, their advance is broken up
by several ravines which forced the lines into two or more vulnerable columns,
which Rebel artillery fire cuts up rather badly.One New Hampshire sergeant writes: "The men bent down as they
pushed forward, as if trying, as they were, to breast a tempest, and the files
of men went down like rows of blocks or bricks pushed over by striking against
one another."True to form, Gen.
Warren’s V Corps does not go forward, and so Rebel artillery from his front
also shreds Baldy Smith’s advancing columns.Finally, Grant calls off the attacks.
---The Richmond Daily
Dispatch does an article on the famed American actor Edwin Booth, whose
brothers Junius Booth, Jr., and John Wilkes Booth, were also well-known actors:
Edwin Boot[h] at the North.
–This young actor, a native of
the State of Maryland, and whose engagements in the South previous to the war
were attended with so much success, has lately been performing at the North for
the benefits of the Sanitary Committee, When [t]old in Washington by a Southern
lady a short time since that the people of the South would surely remember him
in this matter, he repeated: “He did not care what they remembered? He knew no
country but the Union.–no flag but the stars and stripes.” So much for Edwin
The Southern papers regularly excoriate people from the
border states who show Northern loyalty.
---In Wilmington, North Carolina, now the South’s most
productive port in feeding the Confederate war effort, the Daily Journal publishes this brief editorial which reflects the
lack of news getting there from the confused and desperate fighting on the
Overland Campaign, and the Federal army’s attempts to invest Richmond:
FOR some reason we are for two
days without mails from Richmond, our latest letter or newspaper dates from
that city not coming down later than Monday, the 30th ult.
The Road is not in possession
of the enemy, for the telegraph line is working through, and the difficulty
does not seem to be with the Wilmington and Weldon Road, the trains on which
Road arrived both yesterday and the day before at their accustomed hour,
although strangely enough, yesterday’s train brought no papers from Raleigh, a
circumstance which can hardly be looked upon as a positive loss, since all our
people turn anxiously for news from the battle-field and few take much interest
in the political squabbles which seem to occupy so much of the attention of our
cotemporaries at the State capital.
As the majority of Butler’s
forces, having accomplished “one grand failure” on the south side of Richmond,
are understood to have gone round to the York River, and to have joined Grant
by that route, we may take it for granted that the body of Beauregard’s forces
either have joined or will soon join Lee.Some of the telegraphs mention Breckinridge in connection with the
contests near Richmond.This rather
puzzles us, since we thought that Breckinridge was in the valley—he certainly
was there at the last previous accounts.