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Siege of Petersburg
Civil War Encyclopedia >> Siege
Civil War Encyclopedia >> Battles
June 15, 1864 Battle of Petersburg

William F. Smith [US] and Winfield Scott Hancock [US], with a combined army of nearly 30,000 men are held off by General P. G. T. Beauregard with about 4,000 men. Union force only gain Battery No. 5 and about a mile of the Dimmock Line
Virginia
  Ulysses S. Grant
  Robert E. Lee
  P. G. T. Beauregard
  Winfield Scott Hancock
  William Farrar Smith
June 15, 1864
April 2, 1865
Siege of Petersburg Virginia
  Robert E. Lee
  P. G. T. Beauregard
  Army of Northern Virginia
  Ulysses S. Grant
June 17, 1864
June 18, 1864
Battle of Richmond Turnpike Virginia
June 21, 1864
June 22, 1864
Battle of Meade Station Virginia
July 30, 1864 Battle of the Crater or Crater Battle

After blowing explosives at the end of a 586-foot tunnel which in turn ignited four magazines, Union troops advance to the Crater at Petersburg. After 4 hours, though, they are forced to withdraw.
Virginia
  Ambrose Burnside
August 18, 1864
August 19, 1864
Battle of the Weldon Railroad

After gaining the railroad, 5th Corps commander G. K. Warren [US] spread out over a mile of track, then turned north towards Petersburg, but the didn't get far before Henry Heth's [CS] Confederates stopped them. A counterattack by A. P. Hill the next day contained Warren's advances, but in the end federal troops still controlled the railroad
Virginia
August 25, 1864 Battle of Reams Station

A. P. Hill [CS] continued his attempts to retake the Weldon Railroad, a vital supply link from Petersburg to North Carolina. Hill drove back the 2nd Corps under General Winfield Scott Hancock and although the battle is considered to be a Southern victory, Hancock's men continued to hold its position on the railroad
Virginia
  A. P. Hill
  Winfield Scott Hancock
September 30, 1864 Battle of Poplar Springs Church

G. K. Warren's [US] 5th Corps and John Parke's [US] 9th Corps are attacked by A. P. Hill [CS] at Squirrel Level Road southwest of Petersburg. Warren and Parke did extend the siege lines.
Virginia
  A. P. Hill
October 27, 1864 Battle of Hatcher's Run Virginia
October 27, 1864 Battle of Burgess Mill Virginia
October 27, 1864 Battle of the Southside Railroad Virginia
December 6, 1864 Battle of Stoney Creek Virginia
March 25, 1865 Battle of Fort Stedman

Confederates break Union line at Petersburg

General John B. Gordon captured Fort Stedman, a Union outpost on the line around besieged Petersburg, eventually punching a hole 3/4 of mile wide. Confederate units then made a desperate attempt to hit the federal supply base at City Point. With overwhelming force the federal troops turned back the advance, recaptured the fort and retook the lines
Virginia
March 31, 1865 Battle of White Oak Road Virginia
April 1, 1865 Battle of Five Forks

George Pickett [CS] could not withstand the federal envelopment move around Petersburg that began here.
Virginia
  Philip Sheridan
  Gouverneur K. Warren
  George Pickett
April 2, 1865 With the Petersburg line crumbling, Lee informs Davis he will abandon his position that evening. The Confederate government evacuates Richmond and Mayor Joseph Mayo surrenders the city to General Godfrey Weitzel. Virginia
  Richmond, Virginia
  Robert E. Lee
  Jefferson Davis


Siege of Petersburg

For more than 8 months Union forces laid siege to Confederates in Petersburg, Virginia, hoping to force the surrender of Richmond. Abraham Lincoln felt the siege could negatively impact his presidential campaign in the Election of 1864.

General Lee believed he could not only break the Union line, but also sever the rail line Grant had constructed. Lee might have a chance to advance 10 miles along the railroad to City Point, Grant's headquarters and the only supply depot of the Union Army. He ordered John B. Gordon to attack a Union garrison at Fort Stedman, an earthworks fort between the Confederate Army and the railway.

The Battle of Fort Stedman illustrated the extent of Lee's folly. Although the Confederate force took the fort and rolled up the flanks of the Union line, they were easily turned back by a counterattack on the banks of Harrison Creek, which runs behind the fort. The ease with which Grant mounted the counterattack warned Lee that the Yankees had substantial reinforcements behind their lines.

Grant began shifting these reinforcements to the south and west. The Rebel supply line from the south had been the Boydton Plank Road. Supplies were moved by rail to Stony Creek station, unloaded, then moved to Petersburg by wagon. Grant wanted to cut the line to force Lee to surrender or move into open territory where the federal forces would have a better chance of destroying him.

Grant attacked at White Oak Swamp Road, gaining a foothold on the Boydton Plank Road and severing Lee's supply line. The federals quickly realized that the move had cut off the extreme right flank of the Confederate line - more than 10,000 Rebels under the command of General George Pickett at the important intersection of Five Forks.

Phil Sheridan tried to attack with cavalry alone, but could not mount a serious challenge to Pickett's men. They drove Sheridan back in the vicinity of Dinwiddie Court House. The following day the 5th Corps under Gouvernor K. Warren arrived. With Pickett behind the lines enjoying a lunch of shad, Warren attacked the extreme left of Pickett's flank, known as the Angle. Two divisions missed the target, passing deep behind the Rebel line, turning, and coming up on the Confederate rear. The gray line evaporated and soon the forests were full of butternuts.



Links appearing on this page:

Abraham Lincoln
Election of 1864

Civil War Encyclopedia >> Siege
Civil War Encyclopedia >> Battles

Siege of Petersburg was last changed on - March 23, 2009
Siege of Petersburg was added in 2005



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