Friday, October 3, 2014

June 5, 1864

June 5, 1864


Battle of Cold Harbor


May 31-June 12, 1864


Day 5:  The stalemate continues, as both sides extend and strengthen their fortifications.  All day, messages are passed back and forth over the lines as the commanders of each army dickers with the other over the question of a truce to care for the wounded.

Union Army camps at Cold Harbor

---Shenandoah Valley:  Battle of Piedmont, Virginia---As Maj. Gen. David Hunter (replacing the hapless Franz Sigel) pushes south, up the Shenandoah Valley, he is opposed by very few Confederate troops.  There are only a small force of mostly cavalry under Brig. Gen. John Imboden and assorted odds and ends.  Gen. Lee orders Gen. Willliam “Grumble” Jones, near Lynchburg, to march to Imboden’s aid.  Grumble Jones was coming up from Lynchburg with over 4,000 men, assuming command of the aggregate (about 5,500 men), and decides to make a stand near Piedmont, as Hunter turns south from Port Republic and heads toward Staunton.  The Southerners are in good positions on a ridge, with Imboden’s dismounted cavalry holding the right flank at right angles to the main line, thus enabling crossfire against any advancing force.  Hunter sends forth Sullivan’s division of infantry against the Rebel left flank, and the attack falters.  The Rebels counterattack, and a realignment of their lines leaves a gap on the line.  Col. William Ely of the 18th Vermont spots the gap and acquires two howitzers to fire into it.  The Union line goes forward and the Confederates break.  At a crucial moment, while rallying his troops, Grumble Jones is shot through the head, dying instantly.  Brig. Gen. Vaughn takes command of the Rebels, and Imboden holds a line for a while to prevent the total destruction of the Rebel force.  As it is, Maj. Gen. Julius Stahel’s Union cavalry scoop up nearly 1,000 Confederates as prisoners.  The way to Staunton is now open.  Union Victory.   Losses:  Union, 780;  Confederate, 1,600.


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