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Cold Harbor: Grant and Lee, May 26--June 3, 1864 Hardcover – August 1, 2002

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Frequently Bought Together

Cold Harbor: Grant and Lee, May 26--June 3, 1864 + To the North Anna River: Grant and Lee, May 13--25, 1864 + The Battles for Spotsylvania Court House and the Road to Yellow Tavern, May 7--12, 1864
Price for all three: $95.15

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gordon Rhea is the author of three previous books, a winner of the Fletcher Pratt Literary Award, a frequent lecturer throughout the country on military history, and a practicing attorney.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 532 pages
  • Publisher: Lsu Press (August 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807128031
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807128039
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #788,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Trinque VINE VOICE on August 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I suppose that the most fitting summation of the merits of Gordon Rhea's "Cold Harbor" that I can give would be to simply state that it fully meets the standards established by its predecessors. Rhea has already published three outstanding volumes about the 1864 Overland Campaign waged between Grant and Lee. The present volume wholly lives up to the promise of those earlier books. Despite the complexity of the events described, Rhea's narrative is clear and compelling, and I have gained an understanding of the what's and why's of the Cold Harbor battle that far surpasses anything before.
Rhea challenges several popular misconceptions about the battle, especially regarding the famous, ill-fated grand attack of June 3rd. Although in recent years understanding has grown amongst specialist military historians that the image of a hugely costly and essentially unprecedented sacrifice of attacking troops was much more a product of myth rather than fact (Rhea concludes that Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg produced substantially more casualties than the ill-conceived Cold Harbor June 3rd assault), Rhea's book marks the first full use of that understanding in a major narrative history devoted to the battle.
Rhea's evaluation of the merits and weaknesses of the contending generals is balanced. Although Grant wins praise for his flexibility in seeking solutions on a strategic level through maneuver instead of simple plow-ahead fighting, Rhea sharply criticizes Grant (and Meade and their chief subordinates) for a failure to establish even the rudiments of tactical control, resulting in innumerable lost opportunities and pointless casualties.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Moody on June 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most contemporary histories of the Civil War cover the 1864 Overland Campaign as a series of maneuvers from the Rapidan river ultimately to Appomattox with emphasis on the major battles fought at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna River, Cold Harbor and the siege at Petersburg. Little is publicized concerning the planning and marches to and from these prestigous battlefields, until Gordon Rhea's study of this series of battles. In Cold Harbor, Rhea's latest in this series, he comes clean with the details of the maneuvers from the North Anna river to Cold Harbor and the ensuing battles on June 1st and 3rd, 1864. By providing such a complete and comprehensive campaign history, Rhea sacrifices (in my opinion) some of his previous improvements in "readability" and essentially redefines what a "campaign history" reads like.
Even though this period does encompass a significant amount of maneuvering, cavalry battles, small infantry engagements and entrenchments, Rhea, as in his previous works, feels obligated to discuss all of it in detail. While he does accomplish an amazingingly organized study of this amazingly complex series of movements, he loses many a reader to these details and ultimately the whole book suffers somewhat in terms of quality.
This isn't to say that this is a bad book...on the contrary, as I've previously stated, Rhea presents an impressive study, taking no liberties in his research to uncover what really happened and when. We start out with the armies facing each other at the North Anna river. U.S. Grant, having realized that R.E. Lee's inverted "V" entrenchment south of the river is indeed a trap, decides to again move "by the left flank" and steals a march on Lee by crossing the Pamunkey river with his sights set on Richmond.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By James W. Durney TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The Battle of the Wilderness May 5-6, 1864

Product Details

* Hardcover: 520 pages

* Publisher: Louisiana State University Press (July 1994)

* Language: English

* ISBN: 0807118737

The Battles for Spotsylvania Court House and the Road to Yellow Tavern May 7-12, 1864

Product Details

* Hardcover: 483 pages

* Publisher: Louisiana State University Press (May 1997)

* Language: English

* ISBN: 0807121363

To the North Anna River: Grant and Lee, May 13-25, 1864

Product Details

* Hardcover: 505 pages

* Publisher: Louisiana State University Press (May 2000)

* Language: English

* ISBN: 0807125350

Cold Harbor: Grant and Lee, May 26-June 3, 1864

Product Details

* Hardcover: 552 pages

* Publisher: Louisiana State University Press (September 2002)

* Language: English

* ISBN: 0807128031

I am reviewing the four books a single series although each book is a full stand-alone history. This is a highly detailed military history of Grant's Overland Campaign of 1864. Two of the best generals commanding two of the best armies, in American history, decide the Civil war in the East. Gordon Rhea gives this month the detailed attention it requires and had never received. The 2,000 pages allows for the full story of the campaign, the personalities, failures and success.

The first book covers the major battle of The Wilderness an area Grant wished to clear and Lee hoped to trap him in as he had Hooker in 1863. Through a series of Union miscalculations and command problems, Lee manages to get in Grant's way.
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Cold Harbor: Grant and Lee, May 26--June 3, 1864
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