Tuesday, September 30, 2014

June 3, 1864

June 3, 1864


Battle of Cold Harbor


May 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 Booth!
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.


(Source: The Civil War Day by Day, Wilson Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill -- http://blogs.lib.unc.edu/civilwar/index.php/2014/06/03/3-june-1964-a-circumstance-which-can-hardly-be-looked-upon-as-a-positive-loss/)


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