1 thought on ““Grant and Lee at Cold Harbor””

  1. “Civil War generals were taught military history and knew that you do not follow a retreating enemy unless you know exactly what you are chasing them into.”

    There’s a chapter in Stephen Ambrose’s Citizen Soldiers about the Hürtgen Forest. Their mission: to sweep the Germans out. It was a death trap, a house of horrors. Log built interlocking firing positions outfitted with heavy machine guns. Artillery was ranged to fall to the front of those positions. The shells would detonate in the trees and shower wood splinters and metal fragments into the assaulting troops. Once they were down, rescue was impossible because of the HMG fire. Once a position was finally overrun, the Germans fell back to the next set of prepared positions, the artillery was adjusted, and the whole bloodbath started again.

    Patton didn’t get pulled into those sorts of things. His mantra was ‘haul ass and bypass’ for the main assault body, leaving pockets of troops in his rear. For those, his rule was “surround ’em and ‘pound ’em”. He figured, Why go in to the traps? We’ll sit outside, cut of their supplies, and harass them with artillery. They can either die or come out.

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