Thursday, December 6, 2007

Roundtable Meeting - December 13

The next Rocky Mountain Civil War Roundtable meeting is December 13, 2007. Member Chuck Wheeler will be talking about the battles at North Anna and Cold Harbor in the spring of 1864.

After the fighting at Spotsylvania Court House, Grant continued his drive towards Richmond. The next clash was a relatively minor affair along the North Anna River. Lee had a pretty good defensive position and ended up missing a chance to strike a heavy blow to Grant. Once Grant realized the threat he pulled back the separated wings of his army. He would again move by the left flank.

The next point of contact was at Cold Harbor. This vital crossroads was seized on May 31 by Sheridan’s cavalry. Over the next few days the rest of the armies converged on this point, eventually settling into a seven mile front.

Richmond was nearby and Grant thought one big battle might force the capture of that city. The capture of Richmond itself was not greatly important but the city was a supply center that kept Lee’s army in the field. If that was captured then Lee would have a hard time continuing the fight.

At dawn on June 3 Grant launched a frontal assault that only succeeded in making huge casualty lists. He later wrote that this was the only attack he wished he had never ordered. A stalemate continued here for over a week before Grant again began his move by the left flank, this time with plans of crossing the James River and capturing Petersburg.

Chuck recommends the following books:
Grant and Lee: the Virginia Campaigns 1864-65 by William A Frassanito
Not War But Murder: Cold Harbor 1864 by Ernest B. Furgurson
The Virginia Campaign 1864 and 1865 by Gen. Andrew A. Humphreys
To the North Anna River: May 13-25, 1864 by Gordon C. Rhea
Cold Harbor: May 26 - June 3, 1864 by Gordon C. Rhea
Bloody Roads South: May-June 1864 by Noah Andre Trudeau

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