A Life of Robert E Lee Part 3 Ch 04

 
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PART III.ON THE CHICKAHOMINY.IV. The Retreat The battle of Cold Harbor--or, as General Lee styles it in his report, the ''battle of the Chickahominy''--was the decisive struggle between the great adversaries, and determined the fate of General McClellan's campaign against Richmond.This view is not held by writers on the Northern side, who represent the battle in question as only the first of a series of engagements, all of pretty nearly equal importance, and mere incidents attending General McClellan's change of base to the shores of the James River. Such a theory seems unfounded. If the battle at Cold Harbor had resulted in a Federal victory, General McClellan would have advanced straight on Richmond, and the capture of the city would inevitably have followed. But at Cold Harbor he sustained a decisive defeat. His whole campaign was reversed, and came to naught, from the events occurring between noon and nightfall on the 27th of June. The result of that obstinate encounter was not a Federal success, leading to the fall of Richmond, but a Federal defeat, which led to the retreat to the James River, and the failure of the whole campaign against the Confederate capital.

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