"The men bent down as they pushed forward, as if trying ? to breast a tempest, and the files of men went down like rows of blocks or bricks pushed over by striking against each other."
John L. Piper, 12th New Hampshire Infantry
At first light on June 3, 1864, over half of the Army of the Potomac rushed forward across a wide front. Theirs was a high stakes gamble. The risk: a frontal attack against well-fortified Confederate defenders. The reward: the prospect of driving Robert E. Lee's army into the Chickahominy River. On the Confederate and your right, a brief Union breakthrough produced hand-to-hand fighting. In the center, the attackers barely left the cover of their trees. On the left, brave Federal soldiers charged across open ground, only to fall by the hundreds. The Confederate line stood unbroken and remained intact until June 12, when the Union army slipped away. Cold Harbor produced numbing casualty figures: 13,000 for the Federals and approximately 5,000 for the Confederates during the two weeks of combat.