The Battles around Petersburg 1865

1. 27 October 1864: Battfe of Burgess Mill. Union drive toward the Southside R.R. and are turned back. [\j

2. 5-7 February 1865: Union troops cut Boydon Ptank Road and extend the line to Hatchers Run.

3. 25 March IB65; Confederate offensive on Fort Stedman fails,

4. 1 April J 865: Battle of Five Forks, Union victory opens way to Southside R.R.

5. 2 April 1865: Union forces break through outer defenses of city and reach Appomattox River.

6. 2-3 April 1865: Confederates evacuate Petersburg during the night and retreat west.

3 April; Union troops enter the city during the morning. J_rri,'ss

7. 3 April \ 865: Union army sets out in immediate pursuit of the Confederates. -

8. A-RHiffkiffed 0 5 km

1. 27 October 1864: Battfe of Burgess Mill. Union drive toward the Southside R.R. and are turned back. [\j

2. 5-7 February 1865: Union troops cut Boydon Ptank Road and extend the line to Hatchers Run.

3. 25 March IB65; Confederate offensive on Fort Stedman fails,

4. 1 April J 865: Battle of Five Forks, Union victory opens way to Southside R.R.

5. 2 April 1865: Union forces break through outer defenses of city and reach Appomattox River.

6. 2-3 April 1865: Confederates evacuate Petersburg during the night and retreat west.

3 April; Union troops enter the city during the morning. J_rri,'ss

7. 3 April \ 865: Union army sets out in immediate pursuit of the Confederates. -

8. A-RHiffkiffed 0 5 km

At dawn on 19 October 1864, Confederates dashed across the Shenandoah river and surprised camps full of sleeping Federals. For several hours they maintained their momentum and came near to winning the Battle of Cedar Creek despite being outnumbered more than three-to-one. (Public domain)

credit than he has been given for his calm, courageous stand that diluted Confederate momentum and restored the day for his army.

Early has received considerable blame for not pressing Wright more firmly to keep astride the momentum that was his only major advantage under the circumstances. The Confederate commander's quandary was compounded by the behavior of his troops: many of the weary, lean, hungry Southerners could not resist the array of food and booty in the captured camps. Their absence thinned Early's ranks and limited his options. Early's own summary to a member of his staff is telling: 'The Yankees got whipped,' he said, 'and we got scared.' When the aide prepared to leave for Richmond with a report, Early directed him 'not to tell General Lee that we ought to have advanced' farther during the morning, 'for ... we ought to have done so.'

Sheridan dashed back from Winchester to the sound of the guns around Middletown, sent his immense force of cavalry sweeping around the Confederate left (for the third time in three battles), and advanced all across the line. With the momentum of the Southerners' surprise attack evaporated, there could be no doubt whatsoever about the outcome. Early's survivors fled south once more. All the bright hopes of the morning had vanished in the face of unchecked disaster. The Confederates had captured 20 cannon in their triumphant attack; now they lost all of them, and as many more of their own. Early's troops had inflicted 5,700 casualties on the Federal army, and lost 2,900 themselves. They also, by day's end, had for all intents and purposes lost the valley for the remainder of the war.

General Lee recalled most of Early's infantry to help with the desperate defense of Richmond and Petersburg. Cavalry detachments roamed the valley through the winter of 1864-65, raiding for the scant supplies available and harassing one another without major results. Both sides afflicted such of the civilian population as had not fled, and eked out a cold, bitter, costly existence. The small remnant with Early collapsed after only a faint struggle at the Battle of Waynesboro, in the southern valley, on 2 March 1865. The General himself was among the handful who escaped. By then, Lee's lines beyond the mountains were close to the breaking point.

General John B. Gordon entered service in 1861 without any military training or background whatsoever, but advanced steadily on merit until by the war's end he was among Lee's most important subordinates. Gordon designed and led the desperate attack on Fort Stedman on 25 March 1865. (Public domain)

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment