This series has seriously got swept under the rug! It’s time for a new episode, and today’s is on Cold Harbor! I hope you enjoy!
1| Fickle Federals. The command of Col. Elisha Strong Kellogg couldn’t decide what they thought of him. One moment, they would be complaining he was too strict, and the next, they would be pooling their resources to get him a better horse! Col. Kellogg’s first and last fight would be the opening day of Cold Harbor.
2| Bloodiest? Many battles of the War Between the States claim some sort of “Bloodiest” title, and Cold Harbor (May 31st-June 12th, 1864) is no exception. Its claim to fame is in have the bloodiest single hour of the entire war. Nearly 7,000 federal troops fell in that space, most, it is claimed, within 10 minutes! (Source: HistoryNet)
3| A New Weapon. While some might not think of it as such, the spade was the real weapon of the Battle of Cold Harbor. The Confederates spent hours digging trenches that stood chest-deep, with head logs to shield their heads, leaving a slit for them to fire from. The federals never stood a chance.
4| Go Back! My favorite story from Cold Harbor is that of a flag bearer in the Union army. He boldly marched forward, zoned in on the Confederate lines, heedless of the fact that he was the only man left from his company advancing; the others had fallen in the fight. Southern troops ceased fire and shouted for him to turn around, unwilling to knowingly shoot an unarmed man. When he realized he was alone, he calmly stood at attention, saluted smartly to his enemies, did an about-face, and withdrew. The Confederates honored him with a Rebel Yell and thunderous applause.
5| Victory No Matter the Cost. Grant didn’t care about wasting time getting ready. He threw tired, travel-weary men straight into the fight at Cold Harbor and ordered a multitude of deadly charges on their fortified works, reminiscent of the Federals’ foolish charges at Fredericksburg and the Confederates’ at Pickett’s Charge.
6| The Only Union Successes. Grant only had two victories over the battle of Cold Harbor. Confederate troops lost ground the first day, and on the second day of fighting, they lost nearly 200 men prisoner to General Francis Barlow. Confederate losses stood at 788 killed, 3, 376 wounded, and 1,123 missing or captured for a total of 5,287 men. Federal Casualty rates were much higher, with 1,845 killed, 9,077 wounded, and 1,816 missing or captured for a total of 12,738.
7| Wrong Guys! Lines were so tangled during this particular campaign (the Overland Campaign) that multiple times during the fighting, officers of one side could successfully, though unintentionally, give orders to men of the opposite side and be obeyed! And because of several visibility issues, one Confederate officer watered his horse very close to a group of federal soldiers who paid him no heed!
8| What’s in a Name? Cold Harbor was named after a tavern in the area that wouldn’t serve hot meals. It was neither cold nor anywhere near the water.
9| A New Nickname. Following multiple senseless and fruitless charges, Grant was no longer touted as Unconditional Surrender Grant, but Butcher Grant.
10| Stubborn as a Mule. Grant waited for days to officially admit defeat on the field by calling for an official truce. He didn’t want to accept yet another failure to his superior on the field, Robert E. Lee. His pride cost many disabled wounded their lives.
And as usual, here is an excerpt from my Series from the Battle of Cold Harbor!
From Chapter 22 "Cold Harbor"
Jordan surveyed the ingenious trenches built during the day of silence. They were deep enough to conceal most of a soldier’s body. Forked branches anchored into the mounds to hold a “head log,” gave the Confederate forces full protection. The Union troops wouldn’t have time to aim between the headspace.
That night it rained cats and dogs. Jordan cramped together with his fellow soldiers in small tents, tried to keep dry. The longer the war lasted, the tinier the replacement tents got. Economizing, some called it.
From the next tent came fiddle music, slow and gentle. Jordan frowned as he drifted back to sleep, hearing the last verse in his mind…
We’ve been fighting today on the old campground.
Many are lying near.
Some are dead, some are dying.
Many are in tears.
Many are the hearts that are weary tonight,
Wishing for the war to cease.
Many are the hearts looking for the right,
To see the dawn of peace.
Dying tonight, dying tonight.
Dying on the old campground.
June 3rd, 1864
Cold Harbor, Va.
June 3rd was hot and muggy. Southern soldiers shed their coats and jackets, opting to fight in their shirt sleeves. Richard checked the line of men. They leaned up against their trenches, rifles ready and fingers on the trigger.
“They’re coming,” Burdy whispered to him.
Richard nodded, squinting at the regimental colors.
“There are enough men here, put your unit farther down the line,” an officer shouted to Richard.
The men in Richard’s rag-tag unit hurried down the line, loading their pistols and checking their sabers as they went.
The flank was the weakest link in the Confederate lines. Union Gen. Francis Barlow knew this and decided this would be the perfect place to advance his military career. He organized his men and ordered the attack.
No sooner had the 32:7 Boys arrived than Federals raced out of the woods. Burdy took a step back, stunned at the sudden appearance of the enemy, shouting like banshees. “Get back!” Titus ordered, pushing the boy behind him.
It was a battle like Burdy had never seen before. He stood rooted to the ground, blinking in disbelief. The Union soldiers seemed like beasts rather than humans to the lad. They beat Confederate soldiers to the ground with their rifles, then using the bayonet to finish the job. Some were taken prisoner.
 Overly ambitious, Francis Channing Barlow was young, but eager. He started out as a lieutenant and made his way up to Brevet Major General.
And to find out more, you'll have to buy the book! :)
That’s it for now! God Bless!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.
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