General John H. Martindale's division of the 18th Corps deployed on this ground prior to its participation in the Federal attack on the morning of June 3, 1864. At 4:30 a.m., the roughly 3,400 men of the division advanced toward strong Confederate earthworks, approximately 1,000 yards in front of you. Charging into concentrated riﬂe and artillery ﬁre, Benjamin Hett of the 12th New Hampshire recalled, "The men went down in rows, just as they marched in the ranks...." Martindale's division absorbed perhaps the most complete defeat of the day and suffered 1,043 casualties.
"Everything is quiet...such occasions as this...try men's nerves. Every face was more or less pale, but all had a determined look. Thus we stood, all ready for the charge...it seemed a long time to me, for at such a time with men's nerves strained to their utmost tension, a minute seems an hour."
George Place, 12th New Hampshire Infantry
General Martindale led a brigade when the Union army fought around Richmond in 1862. Just two years later, he commanded a division at Cold Harbor.
This aerial photograph shows the ground that Martindale's two brigades had to cross on June 3, 1864. The Union soldiers advanced into ﬁre that converged from three directions. The green lines indicate preserved battleﬁeld land.