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About the Book
The Maps of Spotsylvania through Cold Harbor continues Bradley M. Gottfried’s efforts to study and illustrate the major campaigns of the Civil War’s Eastern Theater. This is the ninth book in the ongoing Savas Beatie Military Atlas Series.
After three years of bloody combat in Virginia, President Abraham Lincoln promoted Ulysses S. Grant to general-inchief in early 1864. Grant immediately went to work planning a comprehensive strategy to bring an end to the war. He hungered to remain with the Western armies, but realized his place was in Washington. Unwilling to be stuck in an office, Grant joined George Meade’s Army of the Potomac. His presence complicated Meade’s ability to direct his army, but Grant promised to stay out of his way and give only strategic directives. This arrangement lasted through the Wilderness Campaign, the first action in what is now referred to as the “Overland Campaign.”
This book continues the actions of both armies through the completion of the Overland Campaign. After the Wilderness fighting, the Army of the Potomac attempted to swing around the right flank of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and shoot straight for Richmond. The Confederate capital was never the goal; the move was intended to force Lee out into the open, where the larger and well-stocked Union army could destroy it.
The head of Lee’s army blunted the enemy at Spotsylvania Court House, where both sides dug in. Days and men were wasted on fruitless attacks until Col. Emery Upton designed an audacious strike that temporarily penetrated Lee’s works. A much larger offensive against the “Mule Shoe” two days later tore the line open, destroyed a Rebel division, and triggered a long day of fighting.
More fighting convinced Grant of the folly of further attempts to crush Lee at Spotsylvania and again he swung around the Rebel right flank. The march ignited almost continuous fighting at the North Anna, Bethesda Church, and Cold Harbor, where this volume ends. This study includes the various cavalry actions, including those at Spotsylvania Court House, Yellow Tavern, Haw’s Tavern, and Matadequin Creek.
The Maps of Spotsylvania through Cold Harbor breaks down the entire operation into thirty-five map sets or “action sections” enriched with 134 detailed full-page color maps. These cartographic originals bore down to the regimental and battery level and include the march to and from the battlefields and virtually every significant event in between. At least two, and as many as ten maps accompany each map set. Keyed to each piece of cartography is a full facing page of detailed footnoted text describing the units, personalities, movements, and combat (including quotes from eyewitnesses) depicted on the accompanying map, all of which make the Spotsylvania story come alive.
This unique presentation allows readers to easily and quickly find a map and text on any portion of the campaign, from the march to Spotsylvania to Cold Harbor. Serious students will appreciate the extensive and authoritative endnotes and complete order of battle. Everyone will want to take the book along on trips to these battlefields.
Perfect for the easy chair or for stomping the hallowed ground, The Maps of Spotsylvania through Cold Harbor is a seminal work that belongs on the bookshelf of every serious and casual student of the battle.
“With The Maps of Spotsylvania through Cold Harbor Brad Gottfried has produced yet another valuable reference book. The maps, and their accompanying narrative, break down the movements of both armies in such a way that it provides a deep, tactical understanding of the actions within each battle and the overall campaign. This will be a valuable addition to any library.” - Terry Rensel, Executive Director, Central Virginia Battlefields Trust
“During their two weeks at Spotsylvania Court House, Grant and Lee continually rewrote the landscape as they shifted their forces in opposition to each other. To truly understand the battle, excellent maps are essential. Gottfried’s map study sheds invaluable light on these constantly shifting forces, helping students of the battle clearly visualize the dynamic situation on the ground. From Spotsy to the North Anna River to Cold Harbor, Gottfried’s maps clearly capture the Overland Campaign’s cacophony of movement.” - Chris Mackowski, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, Emerging Civil War (www.emergingcivilwar.com)