• Cold Harbor 1

  • Cold Harbor 2

  • Cold Harbor 3

  • Cold Harbor 4

  • Cold Harbor 5

Cold Harbor

May 31 - June 12, 1864

Hanover County, Virginia

On May 31, Maj. General Sheridan’s cavalry seized the vital crossroads of Old Cold Harbor. The following morning, Sheridan was able to repulse an attempted repossession by Confederate infantry. Confederate reinforcements soon arrived and clashed with the Union Sixth and Eighteenth Corps when they reached Cold Harbor that evening. By June 2, the armies had formed a seven-mile front that extended from Bethesda Church to the Chickahominy River. General Grant was poised for a major assault to General Lee’s right flank and cut off the Confederates off from Richmond, but when Maj. General Hancock's Second Corps arrived after a midnight march too fatigued to support the Union left flank, the operation was postponed until the following day. This fatal delay gave Lee's troops time to build an impressive line of trenches. At dawn June 3, the Union Second, Sixth, and Eighteenth Corps, followed later by the Fifth and Ninth Corps, assaulted along the Bethesda Church-Cold Harbor line and were slaughtered at all points. Grant pulled out of Cold Harbor after nine days of trench warfare and continued to try to flank Lee's army at Petersburg. Grant later expressed remorse for the egregious Union casualties at Cold Harbor, stating, "I have always regretted that the last assault at Cold Harbor was ever made [...] no advantage whatever was gained to compensate for the heavy loss we sustained."
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10 Facts About Cold Harbor

10 Facts About Cold Harbor

Cold Harbor was one of the Civil War's most dramatic and decisive engagements. Learn more about this costly battle of the Overland Campaign.

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Folly and Terror Featured Article

The Folly and the Horror

Read more about the Overland Campaign and Cold Harbor - one of the most lopsided battles of the Civil War.

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Acres Saved

300 acres of what was once at least a 7,500-acre battlefield are currently preserved as part of the Richmond National Battlefield Park, founded in 1936. 

393 Acres at Risk

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Our Goal: $204,915

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This battlefield was identified in our annual report History Under Siege™ in 2008 »


Check out the key sites and events associated with this bloody battle of the 1864 Overland Campaign

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Bobby Krick on the action at the Civil War Trust's 2013 target property at Cold Harbor

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