Before the Overland Campaign the 13th PA Cavalry scouted and fought in many skirmishes. From February to April 9th they scouted and fought in skirmishes in the Bristoe Station and Greenwich area. For the rest of April they fought skirmishes in Norfolk, Milford, and Middletown in Virginia.
Battles of the Wilderness (May 5-7)
On May 5, 1864, the Union attacked the Ewell's Confederate Corps on the Orange Turnpike. A.P. Hill fought with two Union Corps on the Plank Road. The fight ended in a tie because it was difficult to move throughout the wooded area. As soon as night came the fighting stopped and both sides called for reinforcements.The Union attacked Hill and drove him back from Plank Road. Confederate reinforcements arrived intime before the right flank fell. James Longstreet was a confederate General and his attack on the Union was stopped when he was wounded by his own men. General Burnside moved Against the Confederate center but was replused. Two Union Generals were killed but three Confederate Generals where also killed. The battle was a draw. Grant was the only gerneral that did not retreat like the other Generals. On May 7 the Union advanced toward the crossroads of Spotsylvania Courthouse.
About 18,400 Union casualties, and 11,400 Confederate casualties.
Battle of Spotsylvania Court House (May 8-21)
After the Wilderness it was a race for Spotsylvania and Lee beat the Union there. For a few days the Union and Confederates gathered supplies and set up defences. On May 12-13 the Union attacked a group of Confederates called the Bloody Angle. They captured almost all of a division of Lee's army and almost cut the Confederate Army in half. The confederates plugged the hole and continued fighting for nearly 20 hours. On May 19, a Confederate attempt to turn the Union right flank at Harris farm and it was fought back with several casualties. Two Union Generals were killed and two Confederates were taken prisoner and another two were mortally wounded. On May 21, Grant left the battle and continued his advance on Richmond.
About 18,000 Union casualties, and 12,000 Confederate casualties.
Battle of North Anna (May 23-25)
After Spotsylvania, Grant continued being on the offence against Lee's Amy of Northern Virginia. Grant split up his army into three parts to attack because he thought the North Anna River was smaller than it really was. On May 23 one of A.P. Hill's divisions had attacked one of the Corps that crossed the river at Jericho Mill. This cause a see-saw fight where both sides can not win or lose. On May 24 at Ox Ford the Union was fought back by the Confederates, afterwards they advanced near the Doswell House on the right of the Confederates. Lee hoped that he could hit the Union with an offensive hit, but he was sick, and the chance at defeating part of the Union army. Once Grant learned of Lee's sickness he pulled out of North Anna and went downstream to continue his advance on Richmond.
About 2,623 Union casualties, and 2,517 Confederate casualties.
Battle of Cold Harbor (May 31-June 11)
The Union, Sheridan and his cavalry, captured the crossroads of Cold Harbor on May 31st. Sheridan's Men were attacked by Confederate forces but were able to hold them off because of their new light weight rifles and shallow trenches, on June 1st. Confederate forces came from Richmond and the Totopotomoy River to reinforce the attacking confederates. Also on June 1st the Union reached Cold Harbor and attacked the Confederates, they made a little success. On June 2nd both Armies were forming a seven mile front that stretched from Bethesda Church to the Chickahominy River. Three of the Unions Corps attacked near the Bethesda Church and all three of them were destroyed. On those three lines is where the Armies confronted each other until June 12th. That is the night when Grant again advanced by his left flank while they marched along the James River. On June 14th the Union went across the River at Wilcox's Landing via transport ships. On June 15th the rest of the Army began to cross at Weyanoke on a 2,200 foot long pontoon. Grant saw how well defended Richmond was and then decided to go south of the river and attack Petersburg.
About 13,000 Union casualties, and 2,500 Confederate casualties.
After the Battle of Cold Harbor the 13th PA Cavalry went with Sheridan and not Grant.