Maneuvering and fighting in the rain, mud, and thickets -- Virginian conditions of warfare -- Within eight miles of Richmond -- The battle of Cold Harbor -- The tremendous losses of the campaign -- The charge of butchery against Grant considered in the light of statistics -- What it cost in life and blood to take Richmond.
BY the afternoon of May 17th the weather was splendid, and the roads were rapidly becoming dry, even where the mud was worst. Grant determined to engage Lee, and orders for a decisive movement of the army were issued, to be executed during the night. At first he proposed an attack upon the enemy's right, but changed the plan. Instead of attacking there, Hancock and Wright made a night march back to our right flank, and attacked at daylight upon the same lines where Hancock made his successful assault on the 12th. They succeeded in pressing close to the enemy's lines, and for a time were confident that at last they had struck the lair of the enemy, but an impassable abatis stopped them. One division of Hancock's corps attempted in vain to charge through this obstacle, and held the ground before it for an hour or more under a galling fire of canister. The difficulty of storming the enemy's intrenched camp on that side being evidently of the most extreme character, and both corps having artfully,