Total War: March to September 1864

Disaster at Cold Harbor

How did Grant ever pull off this deception?

Partly it was thanks to the heroic actions of his engineers, but it was also because Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia had lost their “eyes and ears” when J. E. B. Stuart died. The federal cavalry was now everywhere in the ascendant, and Grant had better intelligence than Lee.

Lee was just awakening to Grant’s movement, and the danger it posed, when Lincoln sent a congratulatory telegram to his top general. “I begin to see it,” Lincoln wrote. “You will succeed.” What Lincoln saw was that Grant had completely outmaneuvered Lee and that by crossing the James he could conduct warfare in the open countryside. It seemed a matter of days before Richmond would be taken. To his wife, Julia, Grant wrote that his army had just pulled off one of the true feats of modern warfare, withdrawing in the face of the enemy to make a completely unexpected maneuver.


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