View single post by PvtClewell
 Posted: Sat Feb 9th, 2008 03:05 am
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Joined: Wed Jun 13th, 2007
Location: North Carolina USA
Posts: 420

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Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud.

That's the sound of me banging my head against the wall.

There was a protocol that had to be followed and Lee was a stickler for the details.

I guess he was. On June 5, Grant DID ask Lee if he could recover his dead and dying. Lee rebuffed him twice until he could get Grant to ask for a truce, wording which implied that Grant had lost the field. By the time Lee gave his permission, it was the fourth day after the battle. It's all right there in Foote's Vol. III, pp. 295-96. I don't know which one is being the more obstinate, Grant, Lee, you or me. ;)

I will withdraw the question of my previous post, though. I was more or less exploring the protocol procedure for recovering the casualties on the field. I know as well as anyone that Lee was not responsible for recovering Grant's casualties. But I will suggest that Cold Harbor might be a rare situation in that neither side retired from the field, the opposing lines being less than the length of a football field (that would be 100 yards, Joanie. More like the straightaway at Martinsville, if that helps you any). A prickly situation for sure.

Lee just had the resolve to stick to his game plan for winning the war.
So did Grant.

Do you think that at this point, Grant may be saying to himself, Hmm, this is not working?

No, I don't. Rhea writes: 'Although Grant and his subordinates were frustrated at their inability to pierce Lee's lines at Cold Harbor, they did not consider the reverse any more serious than Lee's previous rebuffs. Reviewing the week's operations, Grant and Meade thought they had done rather well, having turned Lee out of his North Anna line, maneuvered him nearly 20 miles closer to the Confederate capital, and cornered him against Richmond. The attempt to punch through Lee's works at Cold Harbor had failed, but the campaign still had fair prospects for ultimate success.' (p. 387)

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.

And Lee, behind defensive entrenchments, had lost almost 30,000 men, nearly 50 percent of his army since the opening of the Overland campaign. Wonder what Davis must have been thinking when those numbers crossed his desk. In fact, by the time Grant crosses the James, Lee's losses are over 33,000 men — more than 50 percent of his army.

...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.

Damaged how? The army was still in the field, no mass desertions, Lincoln still gets reelected in the fall (with huge support from the AofP, the very army that is suffering all these casualties). And despite MTL's advice, Grant is still in command.

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.

Are you suggesting Mac was the better field commander because he takes fewer losses? Grant is operating in a different theater than the peninsula and he's not facing Johnston, he's facing the superior Lee 100 percent of the time. Much different circumstances. Mac gets no closer to Richmond than he does in 1862 because he's facing Lee when the Seven Days begins. To me, this a red herring comparison.

Yes, Grant goes on to lay siege to Petersburg, and after nine months, drive Lee out of the Petersburg/Richmond fortifications.


Hmm. Private Clewell going up against the Michael and Joanie double team. Two to one odds, Now I do know how Lee must have felt.

Last edited on Sat Feb 9th, 2008 12:43 pm by PvtClewell

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