June 3 - 1864 - The Assault at Cold Harbor
Throughout May of 1864, The Army of the Potomac under Union General Ulysses S. Grant had been repeatedly engaging in fighting with the Confederates of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, then moving around their left flank. This meant that the situation in early June was only different because the two armies faced each other just east of the Confederate capital at Richmond. Becoming annoyed with the lack of a breakthrough, Grant decided to launch an all out assault against fortified and entrenched troops. It was a disaster. Worse, it was a disaster that might have been predictable to many observers. Such charges, most famously the South's ill-fated Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg, did not work much in the Civil War. Indeed, the Union forces saw astonishing losses. Usually, this made an army retreat back to safe areasm ready to regroup. Yet after Cold Harbor, Grant stayed in front of Lee, leading to the long Siege of Petersburg, which would then lead to the fall of Richmond and the eventual surrender by Lee.