Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies: General Winfield Scott Hancock's Account of the Battle of Cold Harbor (Illustrated)by Winfield Scott Hancock
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Winfield Scott Hancock (February 14, 1824 – February 9, 1886) was one of the most colorful men in the Union Army during the Civil War, but he was also one of the most capable soldiers. He served with distinction in the Army for four decades, including service in the Mexican-American War, and his Civil War service earned him the nickname "Hancock the Superb."
Nowhere was Hancock more superb than at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. One military historian wrote, "No other Union general at Gettysburg dominated men by the sheer force of their presence more completely than Hancock." Another wrote, "... his tactical skill had won him the quick admiration of adversaries who had come to know him as the 'Thunderbolt of the Army of the Potomac'." His military service continued after the Civil War, as Hancock participated in the military Reconstruction of the South and the Army's presence at the Western frontier.
Hancock's reputation as a war hero at Gettysburg, combined with his rare status as a prominent figure with impeccable Unionist credentials and pro-states' rights views, made him a quadrennial presidential possibility in the years after the Civil War. His noted integrity was a counterpoint to the corruption of the era, for as President Rutherford B. Hayes said, "... [i]f, when we make up our estimate of a public man, conspicuous both as a soldier and in civil life, we are to think first and chiefly of his manhood, his integrity, his purity, his singleness of purpose, and his unselfish devotion to duty, we can truthfully say of Hancock that he was through and through pure gold." This nationwide popularity led the Democrats to nominate him for President in 1880. Although he ran a strong campaign, Hancock was defeated by Republican James Garfield by the closest popular vote margin in American history.
As Commanding General of the United States Army from 1864 to 1865, Grant confronted Robert E. Lee in a series of very high casualty battles known as the Overland Campaign that ended in a stalemate siege at Petersburg. During the siege, Grant coordinated a series of devastating campaigns launched by William Tecumseh Sherman, Philip Sheridan, and George Thomas. Finally breaking through Lee's trenches at Petersburg, the Union Army captured Richmond, the Confederate capital, in April 1865. Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox. Soon after, the Confederacy collapsed and the Civil War ended.
After the war, Hancock wrote an official account of the Battle of Cold Harbor that became part of The War of the Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. This edition of his account includes illustrations and maps of the Campaign, and it also includes pictures of the important commanders of the battle.
- Charles River Editors
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