|View single post by Michael C. Hardy|
|Posted: Fri Feb 8th, 2008 10:54 pm||
Michael C. Hardy
|If that truly was the custom, and if Lee could claim victory after the battle of Cold Harbor, then wouldn't it be incumbent upon Lee within that custom to be the one to care for the wounded and the burial of the dead?
There was a protocol that had to be followed and Lee was a stickler for the details. Had the Federals abandoned the field, then yes, Lee would have been responsible for the care of the wounded. But the Federals were right there
Plus, and I think someone posted this earlier, Lee was fighting a war to wear down the resolve of the North. Grant’s refusing to ask for a truce, thereby leaving his wounded to die horrible deaths, fit into Lee strategy for winning the war. Even if all of the wounded were to die on the field because of Grant’s stubbornest, the Federal survivors wrote home about how bad a man Grant was for not taking care of his men. Those letters, those words got passed around back at home and damaged the Northern war effort.
That’s not to say that Lee was not human, that he did not detest the cries of the wounded in front of the Confederate lines. Lee just had the resolve to stick to his game plan for winning the war. And that game plan was to wear down the North’s resolve for fighting.
Grant never gave ground and certainly didn't feel vanquished,
Do you think that at this point, Grant may be saying to himself, Hmm, this is not working? Lee had beat Grant four times in a thirty-day period of time. Killed, wounded, and captured in the AofP at this time amount to 51,000 men. I wonder when those numbers showed up on Lincoln’s desk if Lincoln was not asking himself if he had made a mistake? Yes, Grant goes on to lay siege to Petersburg, and after nine months, drive Lee out of the Petersburg/Richmond fortifications. But at the end of the day on June 4, 1864, Grant is not as close to Richmond as McClellan got two years earlier, and has lost 51,000 men.
The Cold Harbor front was seven miles long, but I've only been to the tiny area the NPS opens to the general public. Do you know if the rest of the battlefield is accessible?
There is a new park just a little down the road from the Cold Harbor park that has some excellent Federal breastworks. This property is owned by Hanover County. Most of the land is still private. I was chased off trying to photograph Lane’s position.