Battle Of Cold Harbor Facts, Dates And Summary For Kids | Kidadl


Battle Of Cold Harbor Facts, Dates And Summary For Kids

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Considered one of American history's bloodiest, most lopsided battles, the Battle of Cold Harbor was fought during the American Civil War that took place in 1864 and lasted from May 31 to June 12.

Fought near Mechanicsville, Virginia, the fight was at its most high on June 3, and the Battle of Cold Harbor was one of the last fights of Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's Overland Campaign. In the spring of 1864, Union forces advanced towards Richmond, and the Confederate Army led by General Robert E. Lee repulsed Gen. Grant's army at Cold Harbor which cost more than 17,000 lives in just two weeks.

The Battle of Cold Harbor was Robert E. Lee's last big victory of the Civil War. Although he and his army were outnumbered by almost 50%, Lee's entrenched veterans were brave and inflicted heavy losses to the army of General Grant. Grant's troops were new and had less to no experience and that led to more casualties.

The battle was fought between the Potomac Army led by Major General George Meade while being supervised by the commander of all Union forces Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant and the Northern Virginia's Confederate Army under General Robert E. Lee. General Grant was helped by Major General William F. Smith’s corps from Major General Benjamin Butler’s Army of the James while the Confederate Army was helped by Major General Robert F. Hoke’s Division from Major General John C. Breckenridge’s division from the Shenandoah Valley and the forces of General P.G.T. Beauregard's, south of the James River. Although the name of the Battle of Cold Harbor suggests that the major battle was fought on water, it was actually fought about 10 mi (16km) northeast of Richmond, Virginia. The place is now a city called Mechanicsville. There were a total of around 167,000 troops on both sides, however, the union casualties were more as they were mostly new conscripts or artillerymen who had spent the war behind the lines. The Union general's campaign to take the Confederate capital of Richmond went in vain as the experienced veteran soldiers defeated the Union troops in the interesting battle fought for two weeks.

Now only a part of the old Cold Harbor is left and all the other areas are lost to development. As part of the Richmond Battlefield National Park, only a 300 acre (121.4 hectare) tract is preserved by the National Park Service (NPS), and a 50 acre (20.23 hectare) tract is preserved by Hanover County. The field hospital used during the war, called Garthright House, has also been preserved by the NPS. A cemetery has been made near the battlefield park.

If you enjoyed this article, why not also read about the Battle of Gallipoli and the Battle of France here on Kidadl?

Battle Of Cold Harbor Summary 

The Battle of Cold Harbor was part of General Ulysses S. Grant's Overland Campaign. There were several battles fought in Virginia in this campaign where this battle was fought to capture the Confederate capital of Richmond.

To summarize the war, the Battle of Cold Harbor was fought between Union troops and Confederate troops where the Union soldiers lost in the end to the experience of the Confederate soldiers. The Battle of Cold Harbor was fought in the latter stages of the American Civil War. The battle was the last major victory for the Confederate Army and Gen. Lee during the American Civil War. The battle lasted from May 31 until June 12, 1864. The Battle of Cold Harbor was actually fought around 10 mi (16 km) northeast of Richmond, Virginia, and not on a port or water. The battle starts as the Union cavalry captures the crossroads at Old Cold Harbor and defends it against the Confederate attacks. This was done on May 31 when the Union soldiers began to dig defensive trenches and the battle actually later turned into many days of trench warfare where both sides bombarded each side with artillery. While the trenches were being dug for the battle, skeletal remains of soldiers that died at the Battle of Gaines Mill were unearthed. The Battle of Gaines Mill was fought on the same ground two years back. The battlefield was nowhere near the water and actually was named after Cold Harbor Tavern located near the battlefield in central Virginia. It was the last major battle in General Ulysses S. Grant's Overland Campaign and the last one of significance in the Civil War. It was the clear Confederate victory and their last great victory of the Civil War.

Battle Of Cold Harbor Timeline 

The Battle of Cold Harbor is sometimes said to be the Second Battle of Cold Harbor as the Battle of Gaine's Mill was fought on the same location on June 27, 1862. The Gaines Mill battle is considered the first battle while the Battle of Civil War is the second battle, in just two years.

It all started in the summer of 1864 as the Union Corps was fighting their way towards Richmond in Virginia and these battles were collectively known as the Overland Campaign. Although the federal forces lost around 50,000 of their soldiers, they were successful in pushing General Lee's Army away from most of northern Virginia. In late May, the crossroads of Cold Harbor became the main area of action. From May 31 until June 3, General Grant ordered several soldiers to continuously attack all the known places of the Confederate army. Finally, there was a repulse on June 3, 1864, when three Union corps went forward in one of the biggest frontal attacks against the Confederate lines in Virginia's Cold Harbor. There were around 7,000 killed and wounded Federal soldiers by noon of June 3. Lee's army did not suffer as much as the Union army. Until June 12, both the Union army and the Confederate army held their ground and a withering fire was kept between the Confederate line as well as the Union line. Grant withdrew from the area but kept on moving towards the east and south. The Union army crossed the James River and was in the position to threaten the manufacturing and rail center of Petersburg, which is one of the main gateways to Richmond.

After June 3, minor attacks, sniping, and artillery duels were seen until June 12. June 7 was the day when the generals of both the camps came to a two-hour truce for the Union army to retrieve their wounded.

After the battle, Union troops lost more men than Confederates and it was a loss for the Union.

Battle Of Cold Harbor Significance 

Gen. Lee triumphed over Gen. Grant who not only lost the battle in the American Civil War but also lost 17,000 of his men.

Gen. Lee did not allow Gen. Grant to capture Richmond by keeping the lines intact. The Lincoln administration in the north came into criticism as General Grant of the Union Army of the Potomac lost a lot of men and anti-war sentiment became problems for the administration. Grant had to disengage again and find another way around the Confederate entrenchments. He succeeded through Petersburg.

The Battle of Cold Harbor is not considered the first battle of the region as the Battle of Gaines Mill was fought in the same area two years earlier.

Battle Of Cold Harbor Casualties 

There were about 108,000 soldiers in the Union troops and about 59,000 in the Confederate troops.

Gen. Lee commanded experienced veterans while Gen. Grant had mostly new men in his army who had spent the war behind the lines in the Washington defenses. The number of casualties on Lee's side is said to be between 1500-5000, while Grant's casualties exceeded 10,000.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for the Battle of Cold Harbor, then why not take a look at the Battle of Jutland, or the Battle of Kursk.

Written By
Ritwik Bhuyan

<p>A skilled content writer, Ritwik holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Delhi University. He has refined his writing abilities through his past experience at PenVelope and his current role at Kidadl. In addition to his proficiency in writing, Ritwik has pursued his passion for flying by achieving CPL training and becoming a licensed commercial pilot. This diverse skill set highlights his commitment to exploring multiple fields. Ritwik's experience in the aviation industry has provided him with a unique perspective and attention to detail, which he brings to his writing.</p>

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