Six Days of Awful Fighting: Cavalry Operations on the Road to Cold Harbor
by Eric Wittenberg
Most students of the American Civil War know about the terrible fighting that occurred at Cold Harbor in Hanover County, Virginia, from June 1–3, 1864. However, few know about the severe cavalry fighting leading up to the battle of Cold Harbor. From May 27 to June 1, the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac and the Cavalry Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia slugged it out at places like Hanovertown, Haw’s Shop, Matadequin Creek, Hanover Court House, Ashland, and, finally, Cold Harbor itself, setting the stage for the well-known infantry battle that broke out on the afternoon of June 1, 1864.One cannot truly understand how the battle of Cold Harbor played out unless one also understands how the armies got there. This book brings the armies to the battle of Cold Harbor. The May 28, 1864, battle of Haw’s Shop was considered the harshest cavalry battle of the war to date; but, it was eclipsed two weeks later by the battle of Trevilian Station. Haw’s Shop marked Maj. Gen. Wade Hampton’s emergence as the new commander of the Army of Northern Virginia’s Cavalry Corps in the wake of the death of the lamented cavalry chief, Maj. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart, 16 days earlier.This is the first monograph dedicated to telling the story of these largely overlooked cavalry battles. Familiar characters such as Philip H. Sheridan, Fitzhugh Lee, George A. Custer, and David M. Gregg play significant roles in these battles. So, too, do lesser-known participants. Approximately 70 photographs and 25 maps grace this book’s pages.
- January 2021