Marching to Cold Harbor: Victory and Failure, 1864

R. Wayne Maney, Author
R. Wayne Maney, Author White Mane Publishing Company $29.95 (280p) ISBN 978-0-942597-65-3
Paperback - 270 pages - 978-1-57249-289-9
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On June 3, 1864, Union troops under Ulysses S. Grant mounted a series of attacks on Confederate entrenchments at Cold Harbor, Va. They were defeated so readily and with such high losses that the campaign subsequently developed into a siege operation. Maney's eloquent description of this disaster is based heavily on quotations from printed and unpublished primary sources. The campaign prefigures the first day on the Somme in 1916: men shot down by the thousands in a matter of minutes by enemies they could barely see. Maney's accounts of the earlier fighting in Wilderness and at the Spotsylvania Court House are so detailed that they distract from the event that is the work's stated focus. The author also seems at times disconcertingly unable to distinguish between a regiment and a brigade. Nevertheless, this is a solid treatment of a battle Civil War historians have largely neglected. (Dec.)
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