Friday, October 3, 2014

June 4, 1864

June 4, 1864


Battle of Cold Harbor


May 31-June 12, 1864


Day 4:  The fighting dies down into trench warfare, as it had at Spotsylvania, except that the soldiers on both sides had become much better at designing and building trench systems built to last.  Union troops are far forward of their supply trains, and so resort to using their hands and their bayonets to dig and build up earthworks. 

Because the attacks by snipers are deadly and constant on both sides, supplies have trouble moving up to the front lines.  The soldiers suffer terribly from thirst and hunger, and no relief from the filth of mud and dismembered bodies rotting in the sun.  The wounded suffer the most, since the armies cannot go forward to retrieve them. 
A highly idealized rendering of Cold Harbor


---Georgia:  From poor calculations, Gen. Mansfield Lovell tells his commander, Joseph Johnston, that the Federals under Sherman’s command have lost as many as 45,000 casualties since they launched the campaign into northern Georgia.  In fact, the figures come closer to only 10,000 Union casualties, but Johnston nevertheless becomes convinced that he is prevailing, and that he need only follow the same resist-and-fall-back delaying strategy to eventually stop Sherman.  As the Federals regain control of Allatoona and the railroad, thus securing their line of supply, the Confederates warily pull back about ten miles, with their backs up against Kennesaw Mountain, the most dominant eminence in the area, from whose peak one could easily see Atlanta.  Kennesaw is the key to everything: most of the roads of any consequence meet there, and the railroad curves around the mountain’s eastern shoulder.  Sherman sets his sights on Marietta, which lies beyond Kennesaw.  In the maneuvering of the two armies, small fights erupt at Big Shanty and Acworth.

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