View single post by Kentucky_Orphan
 Posted: Sun May 13th, 2007 08:13 am
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Kentucky_Orphan
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Sorry I've not been able to join in many discussions of late, going to school fulltime and working 25 hours a week will do that.

Anyways, I might have a slightly different opinion on cold harbor than others. Grant is many times made out to be an ignorant butcher, and his critics site this battle more than any other. Grant gambled that the whole ANV was "used up" and wanted to destroy it as quickly as possibe, that is the reason he resorted to the frontal assault against Lee's works.

Cold Harbor has always been an enigma to me in many ways. People point to earlier examples of frontal attack failures of the past years of the war as examples field commanders should have took note of. Nobody would have expected the carnage and the ease of the repulse that resulted from that attack, however, and accounts by the troops involved bear this out.

Lee's "works", for example,  were really not all that extensive, being at closer examination seemingly far less formidabble than the works at Spotsylvania Court House. The attack was lauched with, I believe, 3 corps in concert (correct me if I am wrong) and theoretically, at least, that should have been enough troops to crack the Confederate line which was stretched VERY thin. The "killing field" was also much smaller than, say, the Confederates faced at "picketts charge". You may point to battles like Franklin as further example as to the failure of the frontal attack, but that was made piecemeal against what should have been stronger positions.

As to how troops made such attacks, remember there was a entirely different mindset among people back then. It sounds simplistic, but I believe it is true. People lived harder, and generally died harder as well. A greater amount of trust in a higher power, a cause that was fully embraced by the men, different societal norms, etc.

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