The month of May 1864 was a brutal one for both sides of the Civil War. In the north, Grant was overseeing the Union Army of the Potomac's blood-soaked Overland Campaign against the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. To the south, General Sherman had begun his march on Atlanta and fallen into a similar maneuver and contact pattern that Grant had been executing.
This day in 1864 found both armies in Virginia wrapping up the Battle of North Anna after 2600 Union and 1500 Confederate casualties. Grant was preparing to move his army once again and Lee was preparing to counter him. In a few days the two armies would meet again at a place named Cold Harbor, leading to Grant's worst blunder in his role as Commanding General of the Army.
In Georgia, Sherman continued his relentless push to capture Atlanta. On this date he sent Joe Hooker's Twentieth Corps to attack rebels at the misnamed place known as New Hope Church, through a ravine that Hooker's men would soon name Hell Hole. The 4,000 Confederates used tombstones, terrain, and 16 well-placed cannons to devastate the 16,000 attacking Yankees. Within two hours Union casualties numbered nearly 1700 men compared to Confederate losses of 300-400. Sherman prepared to move again the next day and the rebels prepared to counter him.
And on and on it went that spring of 1864.
(A Hell Hole Ghost Story)