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Old 19 Feb 11, 10:23
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As I recall, the Cold Harbor attack was the only action Grant expressed regret.
The Wilderness was fairly stupid, given that in two previous battles, it was proven that it was no place to be for a larger, more cumbersome Union army.
At the end of the Gettysburg campaign, Meade intended to winter up near Fredricksburg, avoiding the Wilderness. Stanton orders him to winter near the Wilderness over objections.
As much as anything else, Stanton caused as many casualties as Grant, but Grant had the luxury of stripping Washington's defenses for men (green troops), something no other commander could accomplish.
From that point on, it was a matter of attrition, of who blinked first. Since neither Lee nor Grant would, it was nearly a fight to the last man.
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