Letter from Major General George Meade to his wife

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, 9 P. M., June 5,18 Since our last battle on the 3d inst. [Cold Harbor] we have been comparatively quiet. The enemy has tried his hand once or twice at the offensive, and in each case has been repulsed and severely punished. This evening after dark, he made a furious attack, but was everywhere repulsed. The sound of the artillery and musketry has just died away. Indeed we are pretty much engaged all the time, from early in the morning late at night. I don't believe the military history of the world can offer a parallel to the protracted and severe fighting which this army has sustained for the last thirty days. You would suppose, with all this severe fighting, our severe losses, constant marches, many in the night, that the physical powers of the men would be exhausted. I have no doubt in time it will tell on them, but as yet they show no evidence of it.

I feel a satisfaction in knowing that my record is clear, and that the results of this campaign are the clearest indications I could wish of sound judgment, both at Williamsport and Mine Run. In every instance that we have attacked the enemy in an entrenched position have failed, except in the case of Hancock's attack at Spottsylvania [sic], which was a surprise discreditable to the enemy. So, likewise whenever the enemy has attacked us in position, he has been repulsed I think Grant has had his eyes opened, and is willing to admit now Virginia and Lee's army is not Tennessee and Bragg's army. Whether the people will ever realize this fact remains to be seen.

[Source: The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1913); also in electronic form at http://adams.patriot.net/~jcampi/coldharbor.htm]