War of the Rebellion: Serial 068 Introduction

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Intro
Wilderness-Cold Harbor Intro



Vol. 36 Introduction - Serial 68

U.S. Grant had been promoted to command all US forces for 1864. He took his position with the Army of the Potomac, and started heading south in May. Lee was waiting, hoping to beat Grant, disorganize the Union forces and have them waste the rest of the campaigning season. Grant barely won the Battle of the Wilderness, was indeed disorganized, but recognized that if his situation wasn't great, Lee's was in rough shape too. So Grant kept plugging. He fought at Spotsylvania Courthouse; he fought along the North Anna River, along the Rapidan, the Pamunkey, the Totopotomoy. He constantly pushed to find Lee's flank, heading east, where he could be supplied by the US Navy. Eventually he switched his base of supply from Washington, D.C. to the James River, and also tried one last time to break through Lee's forces. It was an obscure crossroads called Cold Harbor, and it would be a bloody and futile day that would haunt Grant's career.
These three volumes tell the story of Grant's confrontation with Lee, and also the Bermuda Hundred campaign by the clumsy political general Benjamin Butler.

This volume continues the story in eastern Virginia with the Army of the James. Ben Butler had commanded (he did not lead) the army for some time, and the men were seasoned soldiers but the commanders were still green. Moving west to complement Grant's southward advance, Butler had the opportunity to break a paper-thin Southern line and take Richmond. He did not. Instead, he was penned into the Bermuda Hundred bend of the James by Beauregard, and contributed little to the campaign.
The reports of Butler's campaign are in this volume, supported by correspondence and more detailed material.



Intro
Wilderness-Cold Harbor Intro