Cold Harbor to the Crater

The End of the Overland Campaign

Edited by Gary W. Gallagher, Caroline E. Janney

360 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 31 halftones, 5 maps, notes, bibl., index

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-2533-1
    Published: September 2015
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-2534-8
    Published: July 2015
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4908-3
    Published: July 2015

Military Campaigns of the Civil War

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Between the end of May and the beginning of August 1864, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Gen. Robert E. Lee oversaw the transition between the Overland campaign—a remarkable saga of maneuvering and brutal combat—and what became a grueling siege of Petersburg that many months later compelled Confederates to abandon Richmond. Although many historians have marked Grant’s crossing of the James River on June 12–15 as the close of the Overland campaign, this volume interprets the fighting from Cold Harbor on June 1–3 through the battle of the Crater on July 30 as the last phase of an operation that could have ended without a prolonged siege. The contributors assess the campaign from a variety of perspectives, examining strategy and tactics, the performances of key commanders on each side, the centrality of field fortifications, political repercussions in the United States and the Confederacy, the experiences of civilians caught in the path of the armies, and how the famous battle of the Crater has resonated in historical memory. As a group, the essays highlight the important connections between the home front and the battlefield, showing some of the ways in which military and nonmilitary affairs played off and influenced one another.

Contributors include Keith S. Bohannon, Stephen Cushman, M. Keith Harris, Robert E. L. Krick, Kevin M. Levin, Kathryn Shively Meier, Gordon C. Rhea, and Joan Waugh.

About the Authors

Gary W. Gallagher is professor emeritus of history at the University of Virginia.
For more information about Gary W. Gallagher, visit the Author Page.

Caroline E. Janney is the John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War and Director of the John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History at the University of Virginia.
For more information about Caroline E. Janney, visit the Author Page.


"Accomplished Civil War historians who bring years of research expertise, superb analytical skills and clear, confident writing to their subjects."--America's Civil War

“Add[s] color and details . . . [and] fill[s] in some of the gaps found in other historical studies of the Overland and Petersburg campaigns.”--On Point

"Offers valuable insights from a variety of scholars, provides revisionist interpretations of events and individuals involved in the campaign, and proposes new areas of inquiry in Civil War scholarship."--North Carolina Historical Review

“These fine essays reflect the new military history, collectively dispelling many deeply ingrained perceptions about the end of the Overland campaign.”--Journal of Southern History

"The eagerly anticipated Cold Harbor to the Crater was worth the wait. It provides insightful analysis of the significant battles, the home front, leadership, and common soldier experiences, all while noting the connections between these themes and linking them to the larger issues of the Civil War era. This volume is superb."--Susannah J. Ural, University of Southern Mississippi

"Filled with impressive research and superb writing, Cold Harbor to the Crater provides wholly new perspectives on Grant's Overland campaign and stands as a vital contribution to our understanding of the Civil War."--Steven E. Woodworth, Texas Christian University