James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
gained to compensate for the heavy loss we sustained.1 After the battle of Cold Harbor he determined to move to a point south of the James with his headquarters at City Point, and between June 12 and 16, had his army successfully transferred to the new position. Up to this time, wrote Meade on June 6, our success has consisted only in compelling the enemy to draw in towards Richmond; our failure has been that we have not been able to overcome, destroy or bag his army.2
Grants loss from May 4 to June 12 in the campaign from the Rapidan to the James was 54,926, a number nearly equal to Lees whole army at the commencement of the Union advance; the Confederate loss is not known, but it was certainly very much less. Nor do the bare figures tell the whole story. To the total loss the flower of the Army of the Potomac contributed a disproportionate share. Fighting against odds of position and strategy, the high-spirited and capable officers were constantly in the thick of danger and the veterans of the rank and file were always at the front: they were the forlorn hope. The bounty-jumpers and mercenaries skulked to the rear. The morale of the soldiers was much lower than on the day when, in high spirits, they had crossed the Rapidan. Many officers lost confidence in Grant; the men said, It is no use. No matter who is given us, we cant whip Bobby Lee. I think, wrote Meade, Grant has had his eyes opened and is willing to admit now that Virginia and Lees army is not Tennessee and Braggs.3
In the judgment of many military critics Grant had not been equal to his opportunities, had not made the best use of his advantages, and had secured no gain commensurate with his loss. Yet the friends of McClellan who maintain