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Title: Campaign for Petersburg
Author: Lykes, Richard Wayne
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Campaign for Petersburg" ***

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		Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

    [Illustration: Supply ships and wagons.]

National Park Service History Series



National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
Washington, D.C. 1970

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents,
U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington, D.C. 20402—Price $1


  PROLOGUE                                                             2
  UNION STRATEGY 1864                                                  5
  STRATEGIC PETERSBURG                                                 7
  BATTLE OF PETERSBURG                                                10
  BATTLE OF THE CRATER                                                24
  FIGHT FOR THE WELDON RAILROAD                                       36
  UNION ENCIRCLEMENT CONTINUES                                        42
  LEE’S LAST GAMBLE                                                   58
  FIVE FORKS: BEGINNING OF THE END                                    64
  FALL OF PETERSBURG AND RICHMOND                                     68

    [Illustration: _In the final year of the Civil War in the East, the
    fighting focused upon Petersburg, an important transportation center
    for Richmond and Lee’s army. For 10 bloody months of combat, both
    from behind prepared positions and along the main routes of supply,
    Lee’s ragged Confederates held the city (shown here from north of
    the Appomattox River) against Grant’s numerically superior Federals.
    On April 2-3, 1865, Lee was forced to abandon both Petersburg and
    Richmond. One week later, he surrendered the Army of Northern
    Virginia at Appomattox Court House, dooming the South’s bid for
    independent existence._]


By June 1864, when the siege of Petersburg began, the Civil War had lain
heavily on both the North and the South for more than 3 years. Most of
the fighting in the East during this period had taken place on the
rolling Virginia countryside between the opposing capitals of Washington
and Richmond, only 110 miles apart, and all of it had failed to end the
war and bring peace to the land. Various generals had been placed in
command of the Union’s mighty Army of the Potomac and had faced Gen.
Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. So far not one had succeeded
in destroying Lee’s army or in capturing Richmond.

Perhaps Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan had come the closest to success
when, in the late spring and early summer of 1862, his Northern troops
had threatened the Confederate capital, only to be repulsed on its
outskirts. The other Northern commanders who followed McClellan—Pope,
Burnside, Hooker, and Meade—were less successful. Lee had met and turned
aside their drives.

After 36 months of bitter conflict the war in the East seemed, to many
observers, to be far from a final settlement. The failure of Union
forces to deliver a decisive blow against the Army of Northern Virginia
was a source of growing concern in Washington. The Confederacy, for its
part, was no more successful in settling the issue. Attempted invasions
of the Northern States by Lee were turned back at Antietam in September
1862 and at Gettysburg in July 1863.

Farther west the picture was brighter for Northern hopes. In the same
month as the Battle of Gettysburg, the Confederate stronghold of
Vicksburg, Miss., fell into Union hands. A few days later, Port Hudson,
La., the last remaining stronghold of the Confederacy on the banks of
the Mississippi River, surrendered. Later in 1863, the Union capture of
Chattanooga, Tenn., threw open the gateway to Georgia.

Strategically, despite the stalemate in Virginia, the beginning of 1864
found the Northern armies in a stronger position than the Confederate
military forces. Not only was there a distinct possibility that the
Southern States east of the Mississippi could be split into two parts,
but the greater resources at the command of the Lincoln administration
were beginning to count more heavily with each passing day. All that
seemed to be needed to end the war was an able Union commander who could
marshal the mighty resources of his country for a last tremendous blow
at the South.

    [Illustration: _From the Rapidan River to the James, Lt. Gen.
    Ulysses S. Grant (above), commanding the armies of the United
    States, found all his efforts to capture Richmond and destroy the
    Confederacy blocked by Gen. Robert E. Lee (below) and his Army of
    Northern Virginia. Finally, Grant turned his attention to

    [Illustration: Gen. Robert E. Lee.]

    [Illustration: Campaign Map.]

  Union Movements
  Confederate Movements
  Major Battles and Engagements
    WILDERNESS    MAY 5-7, 1864
    SPOTSYLVANIA    MAY 8-19, 1864
    COLD HARBOR    JUNE 3-13, 1864
    FIVE FORKS    APRIL 1, 1865
    SAYLER’S CREEK    APRIL 6, 1865

Such a man was found in Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, the victor at
Vicksburg and Missionary Ridge, who was brought east and, on March 9,
1864, commissioned lieutenant general to be responsible for all the
Union armies. Unlike his predecessor, Henry W. Halleck, Grant decided
not to remain in Washington but chose instead to accompany the Army of
the Potomac, where he would provide general direction to the military
operations but leave the execution of them to that army’s commander,
Maj. Gen. George G. Meade.

    [Illustration: _Maj. Gen. George G. Meade commanded the Army of the
    Potomac during the 1864-65 Virginia campaign. With General Grant
    actively directing most of the military operations, Meade was in the
    awkward position of serving much like a corps commander in his own
    army. He nevertheless functioned well in this difficult situation._]

                          UNION STRATEGY 1864

To accomplish the conquest of the Confederacy, the Northern plan called
for a huge two-pronged attack. Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, in command
of the southern prong, was assigned the task of destroying Gen. Joseph
E. Johnston’s Confederate Army of Tennessee, capturing Atlanta, marching
to the sea, and then turning north to effect a junction with Grant.

It was the upper arm of the movement which was directly concerned with
Richmond and Petersburg. This was composed of two armies: the Army of
the Potomac and the Army of the James. It was the task of these armies
to capture Richmond, crush the Army of Northern Virginia, and march
south toward Sherman.

The story of the Army of the James in the early phase of the offensive
can be briefly told. Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler was ordered to advance
upon Richmond from the southeast and threaten communications between the
Confederate capital and the Southern States. With some 40,000 Union
troops, the advance was begun. City Point, located at the junction of
the James and Appomattox Rivers and soon to be the supply center for the
attack on Petersburg, was captured on May 4, 1864. Within 2 weeks,
however, a numerically inferior Confederate force shut up the Army of
the James, “as if it had been in a bottle strongly corked,” in Bermuda
Hundred, a loop formed by the winding James and Appomattox Rivers. Here
Butler waited, while north of him the Army of the Potomac and the Army
of Northern Virginia engaged in a series of bloody battles.

The Battle of the Wilderness, May 5-7, 1864, began what proved to be the
start of the final campaign against the Army of Northern Virginia. Here
Meade’s Army of the Potomac, numbering approximately 118,000 troops,
fought the Confederate defenders of Richmond. Lee had about 62,000 men
with him, while an additional 30,000 under Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard held
the Richmond-Petersburg area. The battle resulted in a fearful loss of
men on both sides, although the armies remained intact. This was
followed by a series of fierce engagements around Spotsylvania Court
House from May 8 to 21.

Failing to destroy the Army of Northern Virginia in these battles, Grant
moved the Army of the Potomac to the east of Richmond. It was his hope
that he would outflank the Confederate defenders by persistent night
marches. Lee was not to be so easily outguessed, however. After minor
battles at the North Anna River (May 23) and Totopotomoy Creek (May 29),
Grant arrived at Cold Harbor, about 8 miles northeast of Richmond, but
Lee’s army still stood between him and that city. On June 3, 2 days
after he arrived at Cold Harbor, Grant ordered a direct frontal assault
against the Confederate lines. He was repulsed with heavy losses—about
7,000 men. “I have always regretted that the last assault at Cold Harbor
was ever made,” Grant would write many years later. By the end of the
first month of Grant’s campaign, both sides had suffered heavy
casualties, but the North’s ability to refill its depleted ranks was
greater than the South’s. Lee’s offensive strength had been sapped. From
the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House until the end of the war, except
for counterattacks and the lunge at Fort Stedman during the siege of
Petersburg, the Army of Northern Virginia was a defensive weapon only.

After Cold Harbor, Grant decided to turn quickly to the south of
Richmond and isolate the city and the defending troops by attacking
Petersburg and cutting the railroads that supplied them. Lee knew he
could not allow this to happen. “We must destroy this army of Grant’s
before he gets to James River,” he told one of his generals. “If he gets
there, it will become a siege, and then it will be a mere question of

                          STRATEGIC PETERSBURG

According to the United States census of 1860, Petersburg was a city of
18,266 people. It was situated on the southern bank of the Appomattox
River about 8 miles from City Point, where the Appomattox joins the
James, and 23 miles south of Richmond. As the war progressed and the
territory to the north and east was shut off, Richmond became
increasingly dependent on Petersburg for supplies. Through it passed a
constant stream of war materials and necessities of life from the South
to sustain the straining war effort. In short, Petersburg was a road and
rail center of vital importance to the Confederacy, and its capture
would almost certainly lead to the abandonment of Richmond.

The transportation vehicles of the 1860’s did not require the wide,
straight highways of the present. However, several good roads came into
the city from the east, south, and west where they joined with the
Richmond Turnpike. Along these roads passed supply wagons, couriers,
and, on occasion, troops on their way to repel the foe. Several were
built of logs laid across the road to form a hard surface. Because of
this they were called “plank roads.” Two of the most important arteries
of traffic into Petersburg were the Jerusalem Plank Road, connecting
Petersburg with Jerusalem (now Courtland), Va., and the Boydton Plank
Road which led south through Dinwiddie Court House. Among others of
importance were the City Point, Prince George Court House, Baxter,
Halifax, Jordon Point, Squirrel Level, and Cox Roads.

    [Illustration: Railroads and important roads serving Petersburg in
    1864. The dashed line indicates the original Confederate Defense
    line built in 1862-63.]

    [Illustration: Map showing the network of railroads and the
    strategic location of Petersburg to Richmond. The shaded area is the
    approximate line of Union control in early 1864. The three arrows
    indicate the major drives planned by the Union army for 1864.
    (Railroads serving Rich. and Petersburg are in heavy lines.)]

It was the railroads more than the highways, however, which gave to
Petersburg a significance out of all proportion to its size. Tracks
radiated from the city in all directions. The Richmond and Petersburg
Railroad left the city to the north; the Southside Railroad ran west to
Lynchburg; the Petersburg and Weldon Railroad led south to North
Carolina; the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad passed through a ravine
east of the city before turning southeast toward Norfolk; and the
Petersburg and City Point Railroad struck out for the hamlet of City
Point, situated at the junction of the James and Appomattox Rivers about
8 miles away.

Because of its proximity, Petersburg became a part of the transportation
system of the Confederate capital, serving as a major point of transfer
to the larger metropolis for products and materials from the vast
regions to the south and southwest. By June 1864, all but one railroad
from the south and west into Richmond—the Richmond and Danville
Railroad—passed through Petersburg. As other lines of supply were cut
off or threatened, the dependence of Richmond upon Petersburg increased
and made the security of that city a matter of vital concern.

In the spring of 1862, McClellan’s Peninsular Campaign had threatened
Richmond from the east and southeast, making that city’s defenders
acutely aware of the need for a system of fortifications around
Petersburg. In August a defense line was begun, and work continued until
its completion about a year later. Capt. Charles H. Dimmock, a
Northerner by birth, was in charge of it under the direction of the
Engineer Bureau, Confederate States Army, and the line so constructed
became unofficially known as the “Dimmock Line.”

When finished, the chain of breastworks and artillery emplacements
around Petersburg was 10 miles long, beginning and ending on the
Appomattox River and protecting all but the northern approaches to the
city. The 55 artillery batteries were consecutively numbered from east
to west. Although natural terrain features were utilized whenever
possible, some glaring weaknesses existed, such as the deep ravine
between Batteries 7 and 8, which could provide a means of penetration by
an attacking force. The very length and size of the fortifications
proved to be a disadvantage. It meant that a larger number of troops
would be necessary to defend the line than General Beauregard, charged
with this heavy responsibility, had present for duty. Col. Alfred Roman,
an aide-de-camp to Beauregard, estimated that the long “Dimmock Line”
would require more than 10 times as many men to defend it as were

On several occasions raids were made on the railroads south and west of
Petersburg. The most serious of these occurred on June 9, 1864, when
3,000 infantry and 1,300 cavalry appeared in force along the eastern and
southeastern sector of the Dimmock Line. The infantry contented itself
with a menacing demonstration, but the cavalry attacked up the Jerusalem
Plank Road. After breaking through the defenses, the horse soldiers were
checked by regular Southern army units assisted by a hastily summoned
home guard of old men and youths. The damage done by such raids was
quickly patched up, but they were a constant nuisance to the city’s
transportation lines. To shut off permanently the supplies that streamed
along the railroads, the Union forces would have to take permanent
physical possession of them.

                          BATTLE OF PETERSBURG

After the Battle of Cold Harbor on June 3, Grant had abandoned, for a
time at least, his plan to capture Richmond by direct assault. With
characteristic zeal he had ordered Meade to move the Army of the Potomac
across the James River and to invest the more southerly city. On June
14, Grant and Butler conferred at Bermuda Hundred. At that time, orders
were given for the attack on Petersburg.

The first of the Northern forces to arrive on the scene of battle was
the XVIII Corps of the Army of the James, which had fought at Cold
Harbor. Early in the morning of June 15, these troops, commanded by Maj.
Gen. W. F. “Baldy” Smith, crossed from Bermuda Hundred to the south side
of the Appomattox by means of a pontoon bridge at Broadway Landing.
Eighteen thousand Union soldiers were on their way to face less than
4,000 under Beauregard. Throughout the day they approached the city and
assembled for the attack.

    [Illustration: _Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard, Confederate commander at
    Petersburg during the early days of the campaign, defended the
    “Dimmock Line” against the Federal assaults of June 15-18, 1864.
    When Lee arrived to direct operations, Beauregard’s troops were
    merged with the Army of Northern Virginia._]

There was skirmishing throughout the afternoon as the Federals drove in
the Confederate pickets, and shortly after 7 p.m. on June 15 the XVIII
Corps launched a fierce attack on the Dimmock Line. Among the first
points to fall was Battery 5, one of the strongest of the Confederate
positions. Within a few hours Beauregard had lost not only Battery 5 but
all the line for more than a mile south. The defenders withdrew and
threw up a hasty entrenchment behind Harrison’s Creek, well to the rear
of the captured section of the line. While the Confederate retreat was
taking place, the Union II Corps, commanded by Maj. Gen. Winfield S.
Hancock, arrived to reinforce the Federal columns.

The appearance on the field of the II Corps was an ominous sign for the
Confederates. While the initial attacks were taking place on June 15,
the Army of the Potomac had been busily engaged in crossing the James
River farther to the east. The number of Union troops south of the river
was increasing hourly, until by midnight of June 16 at least 70,000 had

Darkness ended the fighting on June 15, but early the next day the
attacks were renewed. More of the defense line, south of the portion
captured the previous day, now gave way. In response to repeated
entreaties from Beauregard throughout June 15 and 16, Lee ordered more
divisions to the support of Petersburg, necessitating the draining of
precious reserves from the Richmond lines. By dawn of that second day,
Beauregard could muster about 14,000 men to face the enemy. Thus, the
center of attention rapidly shifted from Richmond to Petersburg, which
had so recently seemed of but secondary importance.

    [Illustration: _Broadway Landing on the Appomattox River where Maj.
    Gen. W. F. “Baldy” Smith’s XVIII Corps of the Army of the James
    crossed on June 15, 1864. It was later used as an ordnance depot by
    the Union Army._]

    [Illustration: _Pontoon bridge at Broadway Landing constructed by
    Federal soldiers in 1864._]

    [Illustration: _Confederate Battery 5, shown here under Federal
    occupation 6 days after its capture, was one of the first points on
    Petersburg’s outer defense lines to fall to the XVIII Corps during
    the June 15 attack._]

The third day of battle was practically a repetition of that of the
preceding day. Again the Northern forces attacked the Confederate
troops, concentrating their efforts to the south of the positions
captured earlier. Again the Confederates were forced to draw back. A
decisive breakthrough of the opposing line was now anticipated by the
assaulting forces. About 12:30 a.m., June 18, Beauregard ordered his
troops to begin a withdrawal to new positions about a mile closer to the
city. Throughout the early morning hours of that day Beauregard had his
men busily engaged in the construction of this defense line. Colonel
Roman later recalled that “without a moment’s rest the digging of the
trenches was begun, with such utensils as had been hastily collected at
Petersburg, many of the men using their bayonets, their knives, and even
their tin cans, to assist in the rapid execution of the work.”

    [Illustration: _A section of the Confederate defense lines around
    Petersburg. Note the use of wickerware (gabions), sharpened stakes
    (fraises), and branches (abatis) to protect the position._]

A general assault by the Union forces was ordered for 4 a.m. on June 18.
When the attack began it was soon discovered that the ranks of the enemy
had not been broken nor had the city fallen into Northern hands. The
area where the left flank of the Dimmock Line anchored on the Appomattox
was empty, except for a thin line of skirmishers who were gradually
forced back. The Northern troops came on, crossing the Norfolk and
Petersburg Railroad west of where the defenders had constructed their
new line and continuing on until they were brought face to face with the
muzzles of Confederate guns. Meanwhile, elements of Lee’s command
continued pouring in to aid their comrades, and Lee came down from his
temporary headquarters near Chester, Va., to personally direct the
defense operations.

Throughout that June Saturday, brisk action occurred on the new
Petersburg front. The major Union drive, involving elements of five
corps, came about 4 p.m. Artillery hammered the Confederates. Infantry
charged, only to be hurled back. During the course of one of these
futile drives, the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery reportedly suffered the
most severe losses of any regiment in a single engagement of the entire
war. This unit, 850 strong, charged from the concealment of the Prince
George Court House Road north of where Fort Stedman was soon to stand.
Met by a heavy crossfire, it withdrew in less than one-half hour, with
632 casualties.

As on the previous days, fighting ended with the coming of darkness.
Grant’s attempt to capture Petersburg had failed, with a loss of 10,000
men; but his efforts could not be considered entirely wasted. Two of the
railroads leading into the city had been cut, and several roads were in
Union hands. Behind the Northern troops was City Point, which Grant
speedily converted into a huge supply base.

The major result of the opening 4 days of combat, however, was the
failure of the Federal forces to break the Confederate defense line.
First Beauregard, and then Lee, had held against heavy odds. They had
been pushed back closer to their base—but they had held. Possibly if
Smith had advanced his XVIII Corps farther into the defenses on the
opening night, or if Hancock’s II Corps had arrived earlier, Petersburg
would have fallen on June 15 or 16. But these had not happened, and now
47,000 to 51,000 Confederates would settle down to defend the city
against 111,000 to 113,000 Union besiegers.

The defenses of Richmond now ran from White Oak Swamp, east of that
city, south to Jerusalem Plank Road, 26 miles away. The fate of the Army
of Northern Virginia—of the Confederate capital itself—would depend upon
the outcome of the drive against Petersburg.


The Union Army, having failed in its initial attack on Petersburg, was
now committed to doing something further to effect its capture. From
June 19 to July 9, the Union forces were engaged in three kinds of
activity. First, elements of the army were set to work consolidating the
positions captured in the 4-day battle and constructing the devices
needed for siege operations. Second, jabbing cavalry thrusts were made
at the important supply routes into Petersburg. And third, they
reconnoitered the Confederate defenses to determine a plan which would
force Lee out of his lines.

A threatening movement toward the Weldon Railroad was promptly
undertaken by the Northern troops. Three days after the failure to
capture the city, two corps (the II and VI) began to push to the
southwest of Grant’s flank on the Jerusalem Plank Road. The following
day, June 22, Confederate divisions led by Generals Cadmus M. Wilcox and
William Mahone advanced from the defense line south of Petersburg and
rolled by the Federals, capturing 1,700 prisoners, four cannons, and
eight stands of colors.

    [Illustration: Map.]

  Union Troops Advance on Petersburg
  JUNE 15-18, 1864. Portion of Original Confederate Line Captured and
          New Line Built Nearer City
  JUNE 22-24, 1864. Union Attempt to Capture the Weldon R.R. Turned Back

The next morning saw the resumption of the advance toward the Weldon
Railroad. A Union patrol succeeded in reaching the tracks on the 23d and
promptly started the work of destruction. Alarmed by the threat to this
important supply line, the Confederates launched a sharp attack that
forced the withdrawal of the Union forces from the vicinity of the
railroad. However, the Union lines confronting Petersburg had been
extended across the Jerusalem Plank Road, thus cutting off its use to
the city.

In itself, the Battle of Jerusalem Plank Road on June 22-24 was not too
important militarily. The North could quickly replace the loss of 2,300
men. The Weldon Railroad, although its days were numbered, was still
able to deliver supplies to Petersburg. But as an indication of Grant’s
tactics, it pointed the course of the campaign ahead. It marked the
first of several attempts to encircle Petersburg, and the others to
follow would not all be as disappointing to Northern hopes. In these
repeated drives to the west lay the essence of the basic plan to capture

On July 9, the plan of operations decided upon by the Union high command
was revealed in an order from Meade’s headquarters giving detailed
instructions for the building of fortifications and the development of
siege tactics. It thus became apparent that the Union plan was to reduce
Petersburg by a process of attrition—a process that was to last for 9

There were still those in the attacking forces, however, who felt that,
with a little imagination, the city could be taken by direct assault.
While most of the troops were digging siege lines, another smaller group
had already begun work on a unique plan which would, if successful, make
further encirclement unnecessary.

    [Illustration: _The Federal cavalry saw little battle action during
    the siege, but it did its share in destroying Lee’s lines of
    communication. Combat artist Alfred R. Waud of Harper’s Weekly made
    this sketch of Brig. Gen. James H. Wilson’s troopers tearing up part
    of the Weldon Railroad, south of Petersburg, during their June 1864

    [Illustration: _The “Dictator,” also called “The Petersburg
    Express,” was a 17,000-pound, 13-inch Federal seacoast mortar
    mounted on a reinforced railroad car. During the early part of the
    siege, this huge weapon fired 200-pound explosive shells into
    Petersburg, 2½ miles away, from a curved section of the Petersburg
    and City Point Railroad. On July 30, 1864, it was part of the
    artillery support for Union troops during the Battle of the

    [Illustration: _The men who commanded the “Dictator”—Col. H. L.
    Abbot (the man on the left in front) and officers of the 1st
    Connecticut Heavy Artillery. Next to Abbot is Maj. Gen. Henry J.
    Hunt, in charge of all artillery operations on the Petersburg

    [Illustration: _The “Dictator” in permanent position near Union
    Battery IV, formerly Confederate Battery 5._]

    [Illustration: _A 13-inch seacoast mortar on display at Petersburg
    National Battlefield today, on the site where the “Dictator” stood
    during most of the siege._]

                          BATTLE OF THE CRATER

At several places east of the city the opposing lines were extremely
close together. One of these locations was in front of Pegram’s
(sometimes called Elliott’s) Salient, a Confederate strong point near
old Blandford Church. Here the Confederate position on Cemetery Hill and
the Union picket line were less than 400 feet apart. Because of the
proximity of the Union line, Pegram’s Salient was well fortified. Behind
earthen embankments was a battery of four guns, and two veteran South
Carolina infantry regiments were stationed on either side. Behind these
were other defensive works; before them the ground sloped gently
downward toward the Union advance line.

This forward Union line was built on the crest of a ravine which had
been crossed on June 18. Through this ravine, and between the sentry
line and the main line, lay the roadbed of the Norfolk and Petersburg
Railroad. The front in this sector was manned by Maj. Gen. Ambrose E.
Burnside’s IX Corps. Among the many units which composed this corps was
the 48th Regiment, Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry. A large
proportion of this regiment was made up of onetime coal miners, and it
apparently occurred to one or more of them that Pegram’s Salient would
provide an excellent place to use their civilian knowhow. Lt. Col. Henry
Pleasants, the commanding officer of the 48th and a mining engineer by
profession, overheard one of the enlisted men mutter, “We could blow
that damned fort out of existence if we could run a mine shaft under
it.” From this and similar remarks came the germ of the idea for a Union

The 48th Regiment proposed to dig a long gallery from the bottom of the
ravine behind their picket line to a point beneath the Confederate
battery at Pegram’s Salient, blow up the position by powder placed in
the end of the tunnel, and then send a strong body of troops through the
gap created in the enemy’s line by the explosion. They saw as the reward
for their effort the capitulation of Petersburg and, perhaps, the end of
the war.

After obtaining the permission of Burnside and Grant, Pleasants and his
men commenced digging their mine shaft on June 25. The lack of proper
equipment made it necessary to improvise tools and apparatus with which
to excavate. Mining picks were created by straightening army picks.
Cracker boxes were converted into hand-barrows in which the dirt was
removed from the end of the tunnel. A sawmill changed a bridge into
timber necessary for shoring up the mine. Pleasants estimated the
tunnel’s direction and depth by means of a theodolite sent him from
Washington. The instrument, although outmoded, served its purpose well:
the mine shaft hit exactly beneath the salient at which it was aimed.

    [Illustration: _Lt. Col. Henry Pleasants, onetime mining engineer
    and the commanding officer of the 48th Pennsylvania Regiment which
    dug the tunnel under the Confederate line._]

    [Illustration: _Cross-section view of the Federal tunnel under the
    Confederate line. Colonel Pleasants later recalled that “General
    Burnside told me that General Meade and Major Duane, chief engineer
    of the Army of the Potomac, said the thing could not be done—that it
    was all clap-trap and nonsense; that such a length of mine had never
    been excavated in military operations, and could not be; that I
    would either get the men smothered, for want of air, or crushed by
    the falling of the earth; or the enemy would find it out and it
    would amount to nothing.”_]

  Air tube
  Air-tight door
  FEDERAL LINE Established June 18, 1864
  Tunnel sloped up to avoid heavy clay
  Air tube
  JUNE 25, 1864, Tunnel started
  510-8/10 feet
  JULY 27, 1864, 8,000 lbs. of powder placed here
  JULY 30, 1864, Pegram’s Battery destroyed by explosion

One of the most remarkable features of the gallery was the method
devised to supply the diggers at the end with fresh air. The longer the
tunnel grew, the more serious the problem of ventilation became. It had
been considered impossible to dig a tunnel for any considerable distance
without spacing shafts at regular intervals in order to replace the
polluted air with a fresh supply. This problem had been solved by the
application of the simple physical principle that warm air rises. Behind
the Union picket line and to the right of the mine gallery, although
connected with it, the miners dug a ventilating chimney. Between the
chimney and the mine entrance they erected an airtight canvas door.
Through that door and along the floor of the gallery they laid a square
wooden pipe. A fire was then built at the bottom of the ventilating
shaft. As the fire warmed the air it went up the chimney. The draft thus
created drew the bad air from the end of the tunnel where the men were
digging. As this went out, fresh air was drawn in through the wooden
pipe to replace it.

Work on the tunnel continued steadily from June 25, and by July 17 the
diggers were nearly 511 feet from the entrance and directly beneath the
battery in Pegram’s Salient. The Confederates had learned of the mine by
this time and had dug several countermines behind their own lines in an
effort to locate the Union gallery. Two were very close, being dug on
either side of where the Pennsylvanians were at work. Although digging
in the countermines continued throughout July, Confederate fears seemed
to lessen during the same period. There were many reasons for this, one
being the failure of their tunnels to strike any Union construction.
Another major reason, undoubtedly, was a belief held by many that it was
impossible to ventilate a shaft of any length over 400 feet without
constructing air shafts along it, and so far no air shafts could be seen
between the Union and Confederate lines.

The next step in the Union plan was to burrow out into lateral galleries
at the end of the long shaft. Accordingly, on July 18, work was begun on
these branches which extended to the right and left, paralleling the
Confederate fortifications above. When completed, these added another 75
feet to the total length of the tunnel which now reached 586 feet into
the earth. It was about 20 feet from the floor of the tunnel to the
enemy works above. The average internal dimensions of the shaft were 5
feet high, with a base 4½ feet wide tapering to 2 feet at the top.

Digging was finally completed on July 23. Four days later the task of
charging the mine with black powder was accomplished. Three hundred and
twenty kegs of powder weighing about 25 pounds each were arranged in the
two lateral galleries in eight magazines. The total charge was 8,000
pounds. The powder was sandbagged to direct the force of the explosion
upward and the fuses were spliced together to form a 98-foot line.

Meanwhile, preparations for the large-scale attack which was to follow
the explosion of the mine had been carried out. Burnside wanted his IX
Corps to lead the attack, spearheaded by a fresh, 4,300-man Negro
division, and pressed his wishes on Meade. Both Meade and Grant approved
the request, but refused to allow the black troops to lead the assault
for fear that, if the attack failed, the Union commanders could be
accused of wanting to get rid of the only Negro troops then with the
Army of the Potomac. Burnside did not learn of this decision until the
day before the assault, July 29, and he was forced to change his plans
at the last moment. Three white divisions would make the initial charge,
with the black division in reserve. Burnside had the commanding generals
of these three divisions draw straws to see which would lead. Brig. Gen.
James F. Ledlie of the 1st Division won the draw.

Despite these 11th-hour changes, a plan of battle had been evolved.
During the night of July 29-30, the bulk of the IX Corps was assembled
in the ravine behind the mine entrance and in the two approach trenches
leading to the picket line. Troops from other Union corps were
marshalled as reinforcements. Artillerymen, manning 110 guns and 54
mortars, were alerted to begin shelling the Confederate line. To assist
the attack, Grant sent a cavalry and infantry force north of the James
to threaten the Richmond defenses and destroy whatever they could of the
Virginia Central Railroad. The object was to draw as many of Lee’s
soldiers away from Petersburg as possible. And it worked. When the
assault came, only 18,000 Confederates were left to guard the city.

At 3:15 a.m., July 30, Pleasants lit the powder fuse and mounted the
parapet to see the results of his regiment’s work. The explosion was
expected at 3:30 a.m. Time passed slowly and the men, huddled behind the
lines, grew more apprehensive. By 4:15 there could be no doubt that
something had gone wrong. Two volunteers from the 48th Regiment (Lt.
Jacob Douty and Sgt. Harry Reese) crawled into the tunnel and found that
the fuse had burned out at a splice. They relighted it and scrambled to
safety. Finally, at 4:40 a.m., the earth trembled, and with one great
roar, men, equipment, and debris were hurled high into the air. At least
278 Confederate troops were killed or wounded in the tremendous blast,
and two of the four guns in the battery were destroyed beyond repair.
The crater torn by the powder was at least 170 feet long, 60 to 80 feet
wide, and 30 feet deep.

The awesome spectacle of the mine explosion caused a delay in the Union
charge following the explosion. Removal of obstructions between the
lines caused further delay. Soon, however, an advance was made to the
crater, where many of the attacking force paused to seek shelter on its
steep slopes or to look at the havoc caused by the mine. The
hard-pressed Confederates rallied quickly and soon were pouring shells
and minié balls into their opponents. Union reinforcements poured into
the breach; but, instead of going forward, they either joined their
comrades in the crater or branched out to the immediate right and left
along the lines. By 8:30 that morning a large part of the IX Corps had
been poured into the captured enemy salient. More than 15,000 troops now
milled in and about the crater.

By prompt action and determined effort the Confederates had prevented a
breakthrough. The attention of three batteries was soon directed on the
bluecoats at the crater. Artillery hammered with shot and shell the
huddled groups of increasingly demoralized men. In addition, mortars
brought to within 50 yards of the crater dropped shells on the soldiers
with deadly effect.

Successful as these devices were in halting the Union advance, Lee was
aware that an infantry charge would be necessary to dislodge the enemy.
By 6 a.m. an order had gone out to Brig. Gen. William Mahone to move two
brigades of his division from the lines south of Petersburg to the
defense of the threatened position; Mahone had anticipated the order and
already had his troops in motion. Then Lee joined Beauregard in
observing the battle from the Gee house, 500 yards to the rear of the
scene of action.

    [Illustration: _Colonel Pleasants’ sketch of the Crater._]

  _Outline of Crater._
  _Course of Confederate Works._
  _S & E_

In spite of the Confederate resistance, part of the Northern black
division and other regiments had, by 8 a.m., advanced a short distance
beyond their companions at the crater. Shortly thereafter, Mahone’s lead
Confederate brigade arrived on the scene. The men filed into a ravine
about 200 yards northwest of the crater and between it and Petersburg.
No sooner had they entered this protected position than, perceiving the
danger to their lines, they charged across the open field into the mass
of Federal soldiers. Although outnumbered, they forced the Northerners
to flee back to the comparative shelter of the crater. Then they swept
on to regain a portion of the line north of the Union-held position.

    [Illustration: _To many soldiers, the explosion of the mine and the
    bitter Battle of the Crater that followed were the most memorable
    events of the siege. Artist A. R. Waud sketched the explosion from
    the Union lines._]

By 10:30 another of Mahone’s brigades had reached the point of danger,
and it charged the Union troops holding the crater, only to be repulsed.
Meanwhile, the lot of the Northern soldiers was rapidly becoming
unbearable. Confederate artillery continued to beat upon them. The
closely packed troops (dead, dying, and living indiscriminately mixed)
lacked shade from the blazing sun, food, water and, above all, competent
leadership. Meade had ordered their withdrawal more than an hour before
the second Confederate charge, but Burnside delayed the transmission of
the order till after midday. Many men had chosen to run the gantlet of
fire back to their own lines, but others remained clinging to the
protective sides of the crater.

The last scene in the battle occurred shortly after 1 p.m. Mahone had
called up a third brigade, and an attack spearheaded by the fresh unit
succeeded in gaining the slopes of the crater. Some of the Union men,
overcome with exhaustion and realizing the helplessness of their
situation, surrendered; but others continued to fight. At one point
where resistance centered, the Confederates put their hats on ramrods
and lifted them over the rim of the crater. The caps were promptly torn
to shreds by a volley of minié balls. Before their foe could reload,
Mahone’s forces jumped into the crater where a desperate struggle with
bayonets, rifle butts, and fists ensued.

Soon it was all over. The Union army had lost more than 4,000 men
killed, wounded, or captured, as against about 1,500 for the
Confederates. Again, as on June 15-18, a frontal assault had failed to
take the Confederate stronghold, even though Union numerical strength
greatly exceeded that of the Confederates. At the battle’s close Grant
had more than 83,000 men south of the Appomattox River; Lee had about

    [Illustration: _What 8,000 pounds of powder could do—the crater as
    it appeared in 1865. The Union soldier seated at the end of the
    tunnel gives an idea of the crater’s size._]

                     FIGHT FOR THE WELDON RAILROAD

Grant, if he reviewed the fruits of his campaign shortly after July 30,
could not have felt much comfort. Three hammering blows delivered
against Petersburg had failed. Moreover, two important railroads still
connected the city with the South. Lee, despite his numerically inferior
numbers, was still able to maintain a long line of defenses around
Petersburg and Richmond. Farther south, the Union outlook was brighter.
Ten days before the Battle of the Crater, final operations against
Atlanta had been begun by Sherman. On September 2 it was to fall, and
the march to the sea followed in 10 weeks.

Yet it was equally certain that Grant had accomplished an important
objective. By committing Lee’s weakened but still potent Army of
Northern Virginia to a defensive position in the area adjacent to
Richmond, he was immobilizing the South’s most powerful striking force.
Moreover, the Union failure at the crater decided the future direction
of the campaign to capture Petersburg. All Grant’s energy now turned to
extending his siege lines around the city and cutting Lee’s supply lines
in an attempt to force him out of his defenses.

The first step taken in this direction after July 30 was a strong effort
to capture the Weldon Railroad, which the Confederates had so nearly
lost in June. On August 16, Maj. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren, Union V
Corps commander, received orders to attack, occupy, and hold the Weldon
Railroad 3 miles below the city.

The seizure of the objective was quickly accomplished on August 18, the
opening day of battle. More than a mile of track near Globe Tavern, an
old colonial inn, was soon in Union hands. Then Warren marched most of
his troops northward toward the city. They were in unfamiliar and
heavily wooded terrain where they were assailed by two Confederate
brigades led by Maj. Gen. Henry Heth. The Union troops were forced to
fall back a short distance and entrench. Here the V Corps was reinforced
by the IX Corps.

On the afternoon of the 19th, five brigades of Lt. Gen. A. P. Hill’s
Corps struck the Union infantry. Three of the brigades under Mahone
managed to slip in behind their opponents by taking advantage of the
concealment offered by the heavy growth of trees. They inflicted serious
losses and captured 2,500 prisoners. By nightfall, Warren had been
forced back one-half mile nearer his new headquarters at Globe Tavern.

    [Illustration: _Globe Tavern, near the Weldon Railroad. During the
    Battle for the Weldon Railroad, August 18-21, 1864, this building
    was headquarters for Maj. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren’s V Corps._]

August 20 was marked by comparative inactivity, although there was some
skirmishing in the morning. Throughout the following day A. P. Hill, who
had received reinforcements, threw his men at the Union positions around
the tavern. The attacks were in vain, for the new Union lines held.
General Lee arrived with more infantry brigades during the afternoon,
but after discussing the situation with his generals, he determined not
to renew the attack. By the end of the day Lee realized that the upper
portion of the Weldon Railroad had been lost and that any attempt to
regain it would be a needless sacrifice of manpower.

    [Illustration: _Petersburg’s hungry defenders were delighted when
    Maj. Gen. Wade Hampton’s Confederate horsemen rustled more than
    2,000 cattle from the Union army in September 1864. Alfred Waud
    sketched the raid for_ Harper’s Weekly.]

One sentence from a dispatch sent by Lee to the Confederate Secretary of
War on August 22 shows the seriousness of the loss of the railroad: “Our
supply of corn is exhausted today, and I am informed that the small
reserve in Richmond is consumed.” For a time the Confederate government
was able to utilize the Weldon Railroad as far as Stony Creek, 20 miles
below Petersburg, where supplies were transferred to wagons and hauled
around the left of the Northern army to Petersburg and Richmond. In
December the railroad line was destroyed below Stony Creek and
henceforth the beleaguered cities had only two direct rail
communications with the South—the Richmond and Danville Railroad out of
Richmond and the Southside from Petersburg.

On August 25, 2 days after the fighting at Globe Tavern had ended, the
Confederates scored a minor victory with a surprise attack. Their blow
was aimed at Hancock’s II Corps busily engaged in destroying railroad
tracks at Reams Station, nearly 5 miles below Globe Tavern. The II
Corps, containing large numbers of inexperienced recruits, was badly
beaten and more than 1,700 were taken prisoner. The Southern victory was
shortlived, for the destruction of their rail communications was
continued. The best that Lee could hope for in the future would be to
stem the Federal advance.

In mid-September, Maj. Gen. Wade Hampton, cavalry commander of the Army
of Northern Virginia since J. E. B. Stuart’s death in May, led a
remarkable raid of 4,000 mounted troops around the rear of the Union
army, now numbering 80,000. He succeeded in returning to Petersburg on
September 17 with about 2,400 head of cattle and more than 300
prisoners, while suffering losses of only 61 men in two engagements with
the enemy. Although this raised the morale of the Confederates, it did
not change the course of the campaign. The iron band being forged
outside their city was a reality, and Grant, a tenacious man, had not
loosened his grip.

    [Illustration: _Federal soldiers in the trenches before Petersburg.
    By 1864, most of the men of the Armies of the Potomac and the James
    were veteran combat soldiers, but the strain of siege warfare
    eventually affected even the most hardened of them. “It was hell
    itself,” one soldier recalled, “and it is wondrous to me that so
    many of us survived the event.”_]

    [Illustration: _Constructing gabions for the attack on Petersburg.
    When filled with earth, these cylindrical, basket-like objects
    offered strong protection against enemy fire._]

    [Illustration: _Federal pickets in front of Union Fort Sedgwick,
    opposite Confederate Fort Mahone. Note how the gabions are being

    [Illustration: _Rifled siege guns in Union Battery IV. Fire from
    this battery helped to seal off the Confederate breakthrough at Fort
    Stedman in March 1865._]

    [Illustration: _Capt. James H. Cooper’s Battery, 1st Pennsylvania
    Light Artillery, V Corps. While the men were standing to their guns
    to have this picture taken, a Confederate battery, thinking the
    Federals were preparing to fire, opened up on them. The famous Civil
    War photographer Mathew B. Brady is standing with hands in pocket
    beside the trail of the second gun._]


The relentless westerly advance of the besieging force was soon resumed
after the capture of the Weldon Railroad in August. Constant skirmishing
occurred between the lines until, in late September, Grant struck again.

The Battle of Peebles’ Farm, September 29 to October 1, was really the
second section of a two-part struggle. The first took place closer to
Richmond and was directed at Fort Harrison, a strongly fortified point
on the outer defense line of the Confederate capital. Fort Harrison was
approximately midway between Richmond and Petersburg. On the morning of
September 29, Union troops advanced and captured the fort and held it
the next day against a counterattack by the former occupants. At the
same time, Meade was moving toward a further encirclement of Petersburg
with more than 20,000 troops. The direction of his attack was northwest
toward Confederate earthworks along the Squirrel Level Road. The
ultimate goal was the capture of the Southside Railroad.

Fighting began on the 29th as the Federal vanguard approached the
Confederates in the vicinity of Peebles’ farm. The engagement increased
in fury on the 30th and continued into the next day. When the smoke of
battle had blown away on October 2, Meade had extended the Union left
flank 3 miles farther west and had secured the ground on which Fort
Fisher would soon be built. (This fort was to be the Union’s biggest and
was one of the largest earthen forts in Civil War history.) He was,
however, stopped short of the coveted Southside Railroad. Against the
gain in territory the Union army had suffered a loss of more than 1,300
prisoners to the Confederacy and more than 650 killed and wounded. The
Southerners found that their lines, while unbroken, were again extended.
Each extension meant a thinner Confederate defense line.

For a period of about 3 weeks after the Battle of Peebles’ Farm, the
shovel and pick again replaced the rifle-musket as the principal tools
for soldiers on both sides. Forts were built, breastworks dug, and
gabions constructed. Then, on October 27, the Union troops moved again.
This time they turned toward the Boydton Plank Road and a stream known
as Hatcher’s Run, 12 miles southwest of Petersburg. Again Grant’s
objective was Lee’s vital supply line—the Southside Railroad.

    [Illustration: Map.]

  JULY 30, 1864. The Crater. Union Attempt to Capture Petersburg by
          Surprise Failed.
  SEPT. 29-OCT. 1, 1864. Battle of Peebles’ Farm. Union Lines Pushed
          West of the Weldon R.R.
  AUGUST 18-21, 1864. Union Troops Capture the Weldon R.R.

The general plan of operations was nearly the same as that used at
Peebles’ farm. Butler’s Army of the James was ordered to threaten attack
in front of Richmond. Meanwhile, at the left of the Union line, nearly
43,000 infantry and cavalry of the Army of the Potomac started for the
Boydton Plank Road. The columns made rapid progress, driving the enemy
outposts ahead of them and advancing until they neared Burgess’ Mill
where the Boydton Plank Road crossed Hatcher’s Run.

Near Burgess’ Mill, heavy Confederate opposition was met and a spirited
engagement took place. The failure of Union Generals Hancock of the II
Corps and Warren of the V Corps to coordinate the efforts of their
respective columns, coupled with a slashing thrust by Heth’s infantry
and dogged resistance by Hampton’s cavalry and horse-artillery, resulted
in a speedy Northern withdrawal. The Boydton Plank Road, for a time at
least, remained in Southern hands, and Grant’s encircling movement to
cut Lee’s railroad was checked.

The approach of winter made any large-scale effort by either side less
probable, although daily skirmishes and tightening of the siege lines
continued. The slackening of hostile action was used to good advantage
by Union and Confederate alike, as it had been in the previous respites
between battles, in the strengthening of the battlelines and efforts to
develop some rudimentary comforts in the cheerless camps. Throughout the
last 2 months of 1864 and the 1st month of the new year there were no
strong efforts by either side before Petersburg; picket duty, sniping,
and patrolling prevailed. The only action out of the trenches was the
Hicksford Raid in December when a strong Union force destroyed the
Weldon Railroad as far as Hicksford, about 40 miles south of Petersburg.
Lee now had a 35-mile front, with the left resting on the Williamsburg
Road east of Richmond and the right on Hatcher’s Run southwest of
Petersburg. To hold this long line he had in December an effective troop
strength of only 66,533. Facing these undernourished and ragged soldiers
were, according to official Union returns of the same month, 110,364
well-fed and equipped Federals.

The picture throughout the rest of the South was no more reassuring to
Confederate sympathizers. In the Shenandoah Valley, northwest of
Richmond, Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan’s army had finally crushed Lt.
Gen. Jubal A. Early’s Southern forces at Cedar Creek on October 19 and
was destroying the scattered resistance that remained. Far to the
southwest, Sherman had captured Atlanta, Ga., in September, and Savannah
had surrendered on December 21. As the new year dawned, his army was
prepared to march north toward Grant. To complete the gloomy Southern
prospects, Fort Fisher, guardian bastion of Wilmington, N.C., the last
of the Confederacy’s Atlantic coast ports to remain open, was under
fatal bombardment by mid-January.

    [Illustration: _Not everyone was shooting all the time. Often only
    handpicked sharpshooters traded shots from the trenches and tried to
    pick off each other’s artillerymen. An artist caught these men of
    the Federal XVIII Corps at their daily, deadly business._]

In late January, President Jefferson Davis, hoping that peace might be
made with the Union, agreed to send commissioners to meet with President
Lincoln. The Peace Commissioners, on January 31, 1865, crossed over to
the Union lines at Petersburg. Soldiers of both armies, suspecting their
mission, cheered as the commissioners slowly walked over the scarred
earth of the crater battlefield. At Hampton Roads they met Lincoln, but
the “Peace Conference” ended in failure; Davis’ insistence on Southern
independence as a condition for peace brought about the impasse. The war

The Battle of Hatcher’s Run on February 5-7, 1865, was the result of a
further drive by the Federals in their attempt to encircle Petersburg.
Two Union corps (the II and V), reinforced by a cavalry division and
elements of the VI Corps, advanced across Hatcher’s Run. Their immediate
objective was the Boydton Plank Road.

As had happened before, the Confederates quickly moved out to engage the
Union columns. On the afternoon of the 5th, and again the next day, the
Southerners counterattacked. While many Confederate units displayed
their customary élan, others did not. There were several reasons for
this: the inferior numbers of the Southern army, the extremely bad
weather which made a Union attack appear unlikely, the ravages of cold
on badly equipped and poorly uniformed men, and, most important, the
breakdown of the food supply system.

The only Federal units to reach the Boydton Plank Road belonged to the
cavalry, but in view of the Confederate response and the discovery that
General Lee was not utilizing this road to supply his army, they were
recalled. Consequently, no effort was made to hold the Boydton Plank
Road, but the Federals did occupy and fortify the newly extended line to
Hatcher’s Run at a point 3 miles below Burgess’ Mill. Thus, again the
Union lines had been pushed to the west, and, as before, Lee was forced
to lengthen his defenses. The Petersburg-Richmond front, with its recent
extension, now stretched over 37 miles, and the army holding it had
dwindled through casualties and desertion to slightly more than 56,000
on March 1, 1865.

    [Illustration: _One of the most impressive oddities of the siege was
    Poplar Grove Church, built about February 1865 by the 50th New York
    Engineers to while away their leisure hours. It could seat 225 men
    and was used for recreational and religious purposes until the
    regiment moved away to take part in the pursuit of Lee. The building
    was dismantled in 1868. Today, Poplar Grove Cemetery is on the

The Battle of Hatcher’s Run was another fight in the constant movement
of the Union Army to the west after June 18, 1864. In its relentless
extension around Petersburg, which continued day by day with the
addition of a few more feet or yards of picket line and rifle-pits,
there had occurred five important thrusts aimed by the Northern leaders
at encircling the city. They included two attacks on the Weldon
Railroad, in June and August 1864; Peebles’ Farm, in September and
October; Boydton Plank Road, in October; and, finally, the move to
Hatcher’s Run in February 1865. They met with varying degrees of
success, but still the Union noose was not drawn tightly enough.

The enlisted men of both armies, however, remained largely unaware of
the strategy of their commanders. Their daily existence during the
campaign took on a marked flavor, different in many respects from the
more dashing engagements which preceded it. Too often war is a
combination of bloodshed and boredom, and Petersburg, unlike most other
military operations of the Civil War, had more than its share of the
latter. The Petersburg episode—assault and resistance—dragged on to
become the longest unbroken campaign against a single American city in
the history of the United States. The romantic and heroic exploits were
relatively few, and between them came long stretches of uninspiring and
backbreaking routine.

The men of both sides had much in common, despite the bitterness with
which they fought. In battle they were enemies, but in camp they were on
the same common level. Stripped of the emotional tension and
exhilaration of combat they all appear as bored, war-weary, homesick
men. The greater part of their time was primarily utilized by digging
and constructing fortifications, performing sentry and picket duty, and
striving to speed up the long succession of days. They lived in rude
improvised shelters, often made of mud and log walls with tent roofs.
Chimneys were made of mud and barrels. There was some friendly
interchange of words and gifts between the lines, but enmity was more
rampant than brotherly regard. Off duty, the amusements and pastimes of
the soldiers were simple and few—limited in most cases to their ability
to improvise them. The most striking difference between the armies as
the Petersburg campaign lengthened was that, while the Northerners
suffered most from boredom, the Confederates were plagued by the
demoralizing effects of hunger.

    [Illustration: _In late 1864, with food and supplies dwindling,
    desertion in the Confederate ranks became a major problem. This
    Southern cavalryman, completely discouraged and in rags, was one of
    those who crossed the lines to surrender. By early 1865, more than
    2,000 Confederates had followed his example. One Union officer
    concluded that “if we stay here, the Johnnies will all come over
    before the 4th of July.”_]

    _During the Civil War, a handful of “special artists” followed the
    Federal armies to supply glimpses of soldier life to news- and
    picture-hungry readers of such popular publications as the_ New York
    Illustrated News, Harper’s Weekly, _and_ Frank Leslie’s Illustrated
    Newspaper. _Artists Edwin Forbes and the Waud brothers, Alfred and
    William, caught these scenes during the siege of Petersburg._

    [Illustration: _Pickets trading between the lines. At quiet moments,
    opposing pickets sometimes met between the lines to trade coffee,
    tobacco, newspapers, and trinkets._]

    [Illustration: _The wagon camp at night. Necessary but thankless was
    the task of the teamsters, those thousands of soldiers and civilians
    who drove the supply wagons from the railroads and ships to the
    front line. Theirs may have been a relatively safe job, but a
    bone-wearying one._]

    [Illustration: _Pennsylvania soldiers voting, 1864. Volunteers
    considered themselves citizens first, soldiers second. These men,
    and thousands like them, took time out from their deadly work to
    vote in the Presidential election, doubtless, as the campaign song
    ran, “For Lincoln and Liberty, too.”_]

    [Illustration: _Bivouac in the rifle-pits. Life in the infantry line
    was anything but pleasant: steaming, stinking mud in summer, frozen
    muck in winter. These soldiers of the V Corps built wood-and-canvas
    “shebangs” over their trenches as protection against the elements._]

    [Illustration: Map.]

  OCTOBER 27, 1864. Battle of Boydton Plank Road. Union Drive Toward the
          Southside R.R. Turned Back
  FEBRUARY 5-7, 1865. Union Troops Extend Line to Hatcher’s Run
  MARCH 25, 1865. Fort Stedman. Confederate Offensive Fails
  APRIL 1, 1865. Battle of Five Forks. Union Victory Opens Way to
          Southside R.R.
  APRIL 2, 1865. Union Forces Break Through Outer Defenses of City and
          Reach Appomattox River
  NIGHT OF APRIL 2-3, 1865. Confederates Evacuate Petersburg and Retreat
  Union Troops Enter City Morning of April 3
  Union Army Sets Out in Immediate Pursuit of The Confederates on April

The Petersburg campaign was grim business. Amusements could lighten the
heart for only a brief time at best. Ever present were the mud and
disease which followed every Civil War camp. Both opposing forces felt
the chill of winter and the penetrating rain. The discouragement of the
homesick, who never knew when, or if, they would return to their homes,
was a hardship not peculiar to any rank. However, when spring came to
warm the air, there was a difference between the two opposing armies. It
was more than a numerical superiority. Then the Union soldiers felt
confidence, while the Southern veterans, ill-clothed, ill-fed, and
nearly surrounded, knew only despair.

    [Illustration: _From June 1864 until April 1865, City Point was the
    “busiest place in Dixie.” While Lee’s outnumbered Confederates
    fought and starved behind their slowly crumbling defenses at
    Petersburg, here, just 8 miles away, Grant built up one of the
    largest supply depots of the Civil War which, during the 10 months
    of its existence, kept his army the best-fed, best-clothed, and
    best-munitioned in the field._]

    _1-4. Scenes at City Point, Va., showing some of the supplies and
    munitions destined for Grant’s army. An Episcopal bishop from
    Atlanta, visiting Grant at City Point, was awed by the abundance of
    military stores that he saw—“not merely profusion, but extravagance;
    wagons, tents, artillery, ad libitum. Soldiers provided with

    [Illustration: _1_]

    [Illustration: _2_]

    [Illustration: _3_]

    [Illustration: _4_]

    [Illustration: _On August 9, 1864, a Confederate spy slipped a time
    bomb on board one of the ammunition barges tied up at City Point.
    The bomb’s explosion, sketched by A. R. Waud, killed or wounded 200
    people and demolished more than 600 feet of warehouses and about 180
    feet of wharf. Grant himself was shaken up by the blast, and one of
    his staff members was wounded._]

                           LEE’S LAST GAMBLE

By mid-March 1865 the climax of the campaign, and of the war, was close
at hand. Lee’s forces in both Richmond and Petersburg had dwindled to
about 55,000. Grant, on the other hand, had available, or within easy
march, at least 150,000. Moreover, Sheridan, having destroyed the
remnants of Early’s forces at Waynesboro, Va., on March 2, had cleared
the Shenandoah Valley of Confederates and was now free to rejoin Grant
before Petersburg.

Everywhere Lee turned, the military situation was black. Union forces
under Sherman, driving the Confederates before them, had turned north
from Savannah and were now hammering Johnston’s forces in North
Carolina. With President Jefferson Davis’ consent, Lee sent a letter to
General Grant on March 2 suggesting an interview. In the early morning
hours of the second day following the dispatch of the letter, Lee and
Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon discussed the three possible solutions to the
problem which perplexed them: (1) Try to negotiate satisfactory peace
terms. (This had already been acted upon in Lee’s note to Grant.) (2)
Retreat from Richmond and Petersburg and unite with Johnston for a final
stand. (3) Attack Grant in order to facilitate retreat.

There followed a series of interviews with Confederate government
officials in Richmond. Each of the plans was analyzed. The first was
quickly dropped when Grant made it clear that he was not empowered to
negotiate. Nor was the second proposal, that of retreat, deemed
advisable by President Davis who wished to strike one more blow before
surrendering his capital. This left only the third alternative—to

Before settling on a definite course of action, however, Lee ordered
General Gordon to make a reconnaissance of the Federal lines around
Petersburg to see if they could be broken anywhere. Gordon soon reported
that the best place for an attack was at Fort Stedman, a Union work
located near the City Point and Petersburg Railroad and only 150 yards
to the east of a strongly fortified Confederate position named
Colquitt’s Salient. Lee agreed with Gordon’s assessment and, on the
night of March 23, told Gordon to make preparations for an attack on the

    [Illustration: _In Petersburg, sometime in the autumn of 1864, Lee
    was photographed on his horse Traveller for the first time. Although
    determined to fight on until all hope was gone, already Lee knew the
    war was going badly and that his tired, hungry, dirty, and cold
    soldiers could not hold out for long against Grant’s growing

About one-half of the besieged army would be used to charge the Union
line in the vicinity of Fort Stedman. It was hoped that this would cause
Grant to shorten his front by withdrawing his left flank to protect his
endangered right. Then Lee could detach a portion of the Confederate
army to send to the aid of Johnston as, with shorter lines, he would not
need as many men in Petersburg. Should the attack fail, he would attempt
to retreat with all his forces for a final stand with Johnston. This
would be the last desperate gamble of the Army of Northern Virginia.

The details for the attack were worked out by Gordon. During the night
preceding the assault, the obstructions before the Confederate lines
were to be removed and the Union pickets overcome as quietly as
possible. A group of 50 men were to remove the chevaux-de-frise and
abatis protecting Fort Stedman; then three companies of 100 men each
were to charge and capture the fort. When Stedman was safely in
Confederate hands, these men were to pretend they were Union troops and,
forming into three columns, were to rush to the rear to capture other

The next step was to send a division of infantry to gain possession of
the siege lines north and south of the fallen bastion. When the breach
had been sufficiently widened, Southern cavalry were to rush through and
destroy telegraphic communication with Grant’s headquarters at City
Point. They were also ordered to cut the military railroad. Additional
reserves were to follow the cavalry.

The attack was scheduled for the morning of March 25. The 50 axmen and
the 300 soldiers who were to make up the advance columns were given
strips of white cloth to wear across their chests to tell friend from
foe. The officers in charge were given the names of Union officers known
to be in the vicinity and were told to shout their assumed names if
challenged. Beginning about 3 a.m., Confederates professing to be
deserters crossed to the Union pickets offering to surrender. Their
purpose: to be near at hand to overwhelm the unsuspecting pickets when
the attack began.

At 4 a.m. Gordon gave the signal, and the Confederates sprang forward.
At first the attack went as planned. Blue-clad pickets were silenced so
effectively that not a shot was fired. Union obstructions were quickly
hewn down by the axmen, and the small vanguard of 300 swept through
Battery No. X which stood immediately north of Fort Stedman. They then
rushed into the fort; the occupants were completely surprised and many
surrendered without a fight. Battery XI to the south of Fort Stedman was
also soon in Confederate hands. Union resistance in this early stage was
ineffective, although Battery XI was recaptured for a short time.

    [Illustration: _Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon planned and led the March
    25 attack on Fort Stedman, one of the most advanced works on the
    Union line._]

More Confederates pressed into the torn line. While three columns set
out in the general direction of City Point and along the Prince George
Court House Road behind Stedman, other infantry units moved north and
south along the Federal emplacements. To the north, they captured the
fortifications as far as Battery IX where they were stopped by the Union
defenders; to the south, they progressed as far as the ramparts of Fort
Haskell. A desperate struggle ensued, but here, too, the Northerners
refused to yield. Despite these checks, the Confederates were now in
possession of almost 1 mile of the Union line.

In the center of the Confederate attack, the three small columns quickly
advanced as far as Harrison’s Creek—a small stream which winds its way
north to the Appomattox River 650 yards behind Fort Stedman. One of the
columns succeeded in crossing the stream and continuing toward a small
Union artillery post on the site of what had been Confederate Battery 8
(renamed Fort Friend by the Federals), but canister from the post forced
the column back to the creek. Confusion took hold of the Confederates
who were unable to locate the positions they had been ordered to capture
behind the Union line. Artillery fire from Northern guns on a ridge to
the east held them on the banks of Harrison’s Creek. By 6 a.m. their
forward momentum had been checked.

    [Illustration: _Advancing from Colquitt’s Salient (above), Gordon’s
    men captured Fort Stedman (below) but were driven out by a murderous
    crossfire from Federal artillery. In the assault, some 4,000
    Confederates were killed, wounded, or captured._]

    [Illustration: Fort Stedman.]

Union infantry then charged from the ridge to attack the Southerners.
The forces joined battle along Harrison’s Creek and the Confederates
were soon forced back to Fort Stedman. For a brief time they held their
newly captured positions. At 7:30 a.m. Brig. Gen. John F. Hartranft
advanced on them with a division of Northern troops. Heavy small-arms
and artillery fire on Gordon’s men threatened them with annihilation
unless they retired to their own lines. About 8 a.m., Gordon received an
order from Lee to withdraw his men. The order was quickly dispatched
across the open fields to the soldiers in the captured Union works. By
now, however, the line of retreat was raked by a vicious crossfire and
many Confederates preferred surrender to withdrawal. About the same time
Gordon was starting back, Hartranft ordered his division of Pennsylvania
troops to recapture Fort Stedman. Within a few moments the Union line
was completely restored and the forlorn Southern hope of a successful
disruption of Northern communications, followed by secret withdrawal
from the city, was lost. Equally bad, if not worse, to the Confederates
was the loss of more than 4,000 killed, wounded, and captured as
compared to the Union casualties of less than 1,500.

Of the three Confederate plans of action before the Battle of Fort
Stedman, now only the second—retreat—was possible. The situation
demanded immediate action, for, even as Gordon had been preparing on
March 24 to launch his attack, Grant had been engaged in planning more
difficulties for the harassed defenders of Petersburg.

                    FIVE FORKS: BEGINNING OF THE END

The coming of better weather heralded the opportunity for the final
blows against the city. Grant, who was now passing some of the most
anxious moments of his life, planned that this effort should be
concentrated on the extreme right of the long Confederate line which
protected Richmond and Petersburg. This meant that hostilities would
soon commence somewhere west of Hatcher’s Run, perhaps in the
neighborhood of Dinwiddie Court House or a road junction called Five
Forks which lay 17 miles southwest of Petersburg. On March 24, Grant
ordered the II and IX Corps and three divisions of the Army of the James
to the extreme left of the Union lines facing Lee. This resulted in a
strong concentration northeast of Hatcher’s Run. Two days later Sheridan
arrived at City Point, fresh from his victorious campaign in the
Shenandoah Valley, and was ordered to join his troops to those
concentrated on the left. Finally, it began to appear that the Army of
Northern Virginia was to be encircled.

Meanwhile, Lee was waiting only until he collected supplies and rations
to last his men for a week and until the roads were passable before
leaving to join Johnston. He hoped to leave on or about April 10. The
information he received about the rapid accumulation of Union forces
opposite his lightly held right was very disturbing, for, if it was
true, the Federals not only threatened to cut off his retreat to the
west and south, but they also posed a serious danger to the Southside
Railroad—the last remaining communication link between Petersburg and
the South, which continued to deliver a trickle of supplies to the city.

On March 29 the Union troops moved out. Sheridan’s cavalry crossed the
Rowanty Creek and occupied Dinwiddie Court House, while the II and V
Corps crossed Hatcher’s Run. In moving into position on the left of the
II Corps, Warren’s V Corps soldiers encountered heavy resistance north
of Gravelly Run. While Sheridan was marshaling his troops around
Dinwiddie, Lee issued orders on March 29 which sent Maj. Gens. George E.
Pickett and Fitzhugh Lee to the Confederate right near Five Forks, far
beyond Petersburg.

Sheridan was prepared to move against the Confederates with his cavalry
on March 30, but heavy rains lasting from the evening of March 29 until
the morning of the 31st made a large-scale movement impracticable over
the muddy roads. On the last day of the month, part of Sheridan’s forces
which has pushed northwest toward Five Forks was attacked by Southern
forces which succeeded in driving them back to Dinwiddie Court House,
where Sheridan had a fresh division. Pickett then found his men badly
outnumbered and withdrew them to Five Forks without pressing the
advantage he had gained. This incident, called the Battle of Dinwiddie
Court House, was a minor Confederate victory, although Sheridan’s men
were neither demoralized nor disorganized by the attack, and Robert E.
Lee could find small comfort in the situation.

    [Illustration: Map, Five Forks.]

Meanwhile, there had been a savage clash on White Oak Road between
Warren’s V Corps and Maj. Gen. Bushrod Johnson’s Confederate division.
The Confederates at first swept all before them, but in the end numbers
told and they were compelled to withdraw behind their breastworks.

The Confederates had been able to concentrate on their extreme right in
the vicinity of Five Forks only about 10,000 cold and hungry soldiers to
meet the expected Union drive to turn their right flank. Massed against
this force commanded by Pickett were about 10,000 Northern cavalry and
12,000 infantry. The desperate urgency of General Lee’s fears was
indicated in the dispatch he sent to Pickett early on April 1, the day
of the struggle for Five Forks: “_Hold Five Forks at all hazards._
Protect road to Ford’s Depot and prevent Union forces from striking the
south-side railroad. Regret exceedingly your forced withdrawal, and your
inability to hold the advantage you had gained.”

Throughout April 1, Pickett’s troops worked unceasingly, erecting
barricades of logs and earth around Five Forks. About 4 p.m., with only
2 hours of daylight remaining, Sheridan’s cavalry and Warren’s infantry
attacked. While the cavalry occupied the attention of the Confederate
defenders along White Oak Road, divisions of infantrymen from the V
Corps moved to the left of Pickett’s troops and, after crossing the
White Oak Road which connected Five Forks with Petersburg, hit them on
the weakly held left flank. Lacking sufficient artillery support,
infantry reserves, and the presence of their commander, the Southerners
were quickly overcome. Realizing that their position was no longer
tenable, portions of the Confederate troops tried to retreat to
Petersburg, but the avenue of escape had been cut by the Union advance
across the White Oak Road.

By dusk, the Battle of Five Forks had ended. Union troops were in
possession of the disputed area. They had cut off and captured more than
3,200 prisoners, while suffering a loss of probably less than 1,000.

Now the besieging forces were in position for the first time to
accomplish Grant’s objective of cutting Lee’s supply lines and breaking
through his fortifications. The western end of Lee’s mobile defenses had

    [Illustration: _When Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan (above) sent
    cavalry and infantry crashing into the Confederate right flank at
    Five Forks on April 1, 1865, the Southern commander, Maj. Gen.
    George E. Pickett (below), was at a shad bake in the rear. By the
    time Pickett returned to his command, both it and the defense line
    had crumbled. Suddenly, Petersburg was no longer tenable. “It has
    happened as I told them in Richmond it would happen,” said Lee. “The
    line has been stretched until it is broken.”_]

    [Illustration: Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett.]

Those Confederates who had survived the Battle of Five Forks had fallen
back to the Southside Railroad where they rallied for a stand, but
darkness had prevented a Union pursuit. Grant’s troops were within
striking distance of the rail line, located less than 3 miles from Five
Forks. Lee now knew that Petersburg and Richmond must be evacuated
without delay or the Army of Northern Virginia would be completely cut
off from outside help and all possible escape routes would be gone.

The problem of assigning a proper significance to Five Forks is a
difficult one. It is now known that Lee and the Confederate government
officials were on the verge of abandoning their capital. In June of the
previous year the Southside Railroad had been a most important objective
of the invading army, but the plight of Lee’s army had grown so
desperate during the intervening months that whether the railroad
remained open or not mattered little. Grant, of course, did not know
this as a positive fact, although the uncomfortable situation of his
opponents was something of which he was doubtless aware. The real
importance of Five Forks lay in the probability that, by making it more
difficult for Lee to escape, it brought the inevitable a little closer.
Lt. Col. Horace Porter, of Grant’s staff, was positive more than 30
years later that news of Sheridan’s success prompted the Union commander
in chief to issue the orders for the attack that carried the city.


Continuously throughout the night following the Battle of Five Forks,
the Union artillery played upon the Confederate earthworks and dropped
shells into the city. Troops were prepared for a general assault ordered
for the following dawn. At 4:40 a.m., April 2, 1865, a frontal attack
began with the sound of a signal gun from Fort Fisher. A heavy ground
fog added to the confusion as the Federals drove in the Confederate
pickets, cut away the abatis, and stormed over the works.

The story of the fighting along the Petersburg front on that spring
Sunday is one of Union success over stout Confederate resistance. Maj.
Gen. Horatio G. Wright’s Union VI Corps broke through the works defended
by troops of A. P. Hill’s Corps and rolled up the Confederate line to
right and left, while several regiments rushed on toward the Southside
Railroad. Other elements of Grant’s army swept away the remnants of the
Confederate lines along Hatcher’s Run. General Hill was killed early in
the day by a Union soldier near the Boydton Plank Road while on the way
to rally his men at Hatcher’s Run.

The desperateness of the Southern position was shown when, about 10
a.m., Lee telegraphed President Davis to inform him of the turn of
events at Petersburg. The message read: “I advise that all preparations
be made for leaving Richmond tonight.” Davis received the message while
attending Sunday services at St. Paul’s Church. He left immediately,
destroying the calm of worship, to prepare for evacuating the capital.
The flight of the Confederate government was promptly begun.

By midday the entire outer line to the west of Petersburg had been
captured, with the exception of Fort Gregg. The city was now completely
surrounded except to the north. The left of the Union line finally
rested on the bank of the Appomattox River after months of strenuous

It now became apparent to Lee that he must hold an inner line west of
Petersburg until nightfall, when it would be possible for him to retreat
from the city. While gray-clad troops were forming along this line built
on the banks of Old Indian Town Creek, the defenders of Fort Gregg put
up a stubborn delaying action against the Northern advance.
Approximately 300 men and two pieces of artillery met an onslaught of
5,000 Northerners. The outcome of the struggle was determined by the
numbers in the attacking force, but the capture of Fort Gregg occurred
only after bitter hand-to-hand combat. The purpose of the defense had
been accomplished, however, for a thin but sturdy line running behind
them from Battery 45 to the Appomattox River had been manned.
Temporarily, at least, street fighting within Petersburg had been

Blows directed at other points, such as Fort Mahone on the Jerusalem
Plank Road, were slowed after troops of Maj. Gen. John G. Parke’s IX
Corps had captured 12 guns and 400 yards of the Confederate line to the
right and left of the road. Desperate counterattacks by Gordon’s
Confederates kept the Federals from exploiting this breakthrough. Yet
there was no doubt in the minds of Lee and other Southern leaders that
all hope of retaining Petersburg and Richmond was gone. It was obvious
that, if the lines held the Union army in check on April 2, they must be
surrendered on the morrow. The object was to delay until evening, when
retreat would be possible.

The close of the day found the weary Confederates concentrating within
Petersburg and making all possible plans to withdraw. Lee had issued the
necessary instructions at 5 o’clock that afternoon. By 8 p.m. the
retreat was under way, the artillery preceding the infantry across the
Appomattox River. Amelia Court House, 40 miles to the west, was
designated as the assembly point for the troops from Petersburg and

Grant had ordered the assault on Petersburg to be renewed early on April
3. It was discovered at 3 a.m. that the Southern earthworks had been
abandoned; an attack was not necessary. Union troops took possession of
the city shortly after 4 o’clock in the morning. Richmond officially
surrendered 4 hours later.

President Lincoln, who had been in the vicinity of Petersburg for more
than a week, came from army headquarters at City Point that same day for
a brief visit with Grant. They talked quietly on the porch of a private
house for 1½ hours before the President returned to City Point. Grant,
with all of his army, except the detachments necessary to police
Petersburg and Richmond and to protect City Point, set out in pursuit of
Lee. He left Maj. Gen. George L. Hartsuff in command at Petersburg.

Petersburg had fallen, but it was at a heavy price. In the absence of
complete records, the exact casualties will never be known, but in the
10-month campaign at least 42,000 Union soldiers had been killed,
wounded, and captured, while the Confederates had suffered losses of
more than 28,000. Although the northern forces had lost more men than
their opponents, they had been able to replenish them more readily.
Moreover, Grant had been prepared to utilize the greater resources at
his disposal, and the Petersburg campaign had been turned by him into a
form of relentless attrition which the Southern army had not been able
to stand. The result had been the capture of Petersburg and Richmond,
but more important, it had led to the flight of the remnants of the once
mighty Army of Northern Virginia.

    [Illustration: _Fort Mahone after its capture, 1865._]

    [Illustration: _Deserted Confederate huts on the abandoned
    Petersburg line._]

On the Sunday following the evacuation of Petersburg and Richmond, Lee’s
troops were cut off at Appomattox Court House, destroying any hopes they
might have had for uniting with Johnston in North Carolina. In this
small Virginia town nearly 100 miles west of Petersburg, the Army of
Northern Virginia, now numbering little more than 28,000, surrendered to
the Union forces. Within a week of the fall of Petersburg the major
striking force of the Confederacy had capitulated. General Johnston
surrendered his army to General Sherman in North Carolina on April 26.
By early June 1865, all Confederate forces had been surrendered, and the
Civil War was over.

    [Illustration: _Union soldiers on Sycamore Street in Petersburg,
    April 1865. For these men, basking in the aftermath of a successful
    campaign, the war is almost over. To the west, General Sheridan’s
    cavalry is racing to cut off the retreating Southern army. “If the
    thing is pressed,” Sheridan tells Grant, “I think Lee will
    surrender.” Says Lincoln: “Let the thing be pressed.”_]

    [Illustration: _On April 3, 1865, with Petersburg in Union hands at
    last, General Grant issued orders sending off the Armies of the
    Potomac and the James in pursuit of Lee. While the photographer was
    taking this picture, showing a Federal wagon train leaving the city
    to join in the chase, the remnants of Lee’s army were marching
    toward a little crossroad village named Appomattox Court House._]

                            PICTURE CREDITS:

  Addison Gallery of American Art (from the painting by E. L. Henry):
          pp. 54-55
  Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: pp. 25, 31
  Library of Congress: pp. 3, 13 (top & bottom), 18-19, 20-21, 22-23
          (bottom, left), 32-33, 38-39, 45, 47, 49, 50-51, 56-57, 61, 62,
          67 (bottom), 73-75
  National Archives: pp. 1, 11, 13 (middle), 14-15, 22-23 (top), 34-35,
          37, 40-41, 63, 67 (top), 71
  National Park Service: p. 23
  Washington and Lee University: p. 59.

                          FOR FURTHER READING:

  Bruce Catton, _Grant Takes Command_, Boston, 1969
  Bruce Catton, _A Stillness at Appomattox_, New York, 1953
  Douglas Southall Freeman, _Lee’s Lieutenants: A Study in Command_, 3
          vols., New York, 1942-46, vol. III
  Douglas Southall Freeman, _R. E. Lee, A Biography_, 4 vols., New York,
          1934-35, vols. III and IV
  Ulysses S. Grant, _Personal Memoirs_, 2 vols., New York, 1885-86, vol.
  Andrew A. Humphreys, _The Virginia Campaign of 1864 and 1865_, New
          York, 1883
  Robert U. Johnson and Clarence C. Buel, eds., _Battles and Leaders of
          the Civil War_, 4 vols., New York, 1887 (reissued, 1956), vol.
  Theodore Lyman, _Meade’s Headquarters, 1863-1865: Letters of Colonel
          Theodore Lyman from the Wilderness to Appomattox_, edited by
          George R. Agassiz, Boston, 1922
  Francis Trevelyan Miller, ed., _The Photographic History of the Civil
          War_, 10 vols., New York, 1911 (reissued, 1957)
  Henry Pleasants, Jr., _The Tragedy of the Crater_, Boston, 1936
  Horace Porter, _Campaigning With Grant_, New York, 1897 (reissued,
  Benjamin Quarles, _The Negro in the Civil War_, Boston, 1953
  Philip Van Doren Stern, _An End to Valor: The Last Days of the Civil
          War_, Boston, 1958
  William Swinton, _Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac_, New York,
  U.S. War Department, _War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the
          Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies_, 128
          vols., Washington, 1880-1901, Series I, vols. 36, 38, 40, 46,
          51; Series III, vol. 5.


  Aztec Ruins
  Campaign for Petersburg
  Chickamauga and Chattanooga Battlefields
  Custer Battlefield
  Custis-Lee Mansion, the Robert E. Lee Memorial
  Ford’s Theatre and the House Where Lincoln Died
  Fort Davis
  Fort Laramie
  Fort McHenry
  Fort Necessity
  Fort Pulaski
  Fort Raleigh
  Fort Sumter
  Fort Union
  Fredericksburg Battlefields
  George Washington Birthplace
  Golden Spike
  Guilford Courthouse
  Hopewell Village
  Jamestown, Virginia
  Kings Mountain
  Manassas (Bull Run)
  Montezuma Castle
  Morristown, A Military Capital of the Revolution
  Richmond Battlefields
  Scotts Bluff
  Statue of Liberty
  Vanderbilt Mansion
  Whitman Mission
  Wright Brothers

Pricelists of Park Service publications sold by the Government Printing
Office may be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents, Washington,
DC 20402.


Petersburg National Battlefield is administered by the National Park
Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. A superintendent, whose
address is Box 549, Petersburg, VA 23803, is in immediate charge.

As the Nation’s principal conservation agency, the Department of the
Interior has basic responsibilities for water, fish, wildlife, mineral,
land, park, and recreational resources. Indian and Territorial affairs
are other major concerns of America’s “Department of Natural Resources.”
The Department works to assure the wisest choice in managing all our
resources so each will make its full contribution to a better United
States—now and in the future.



    [Illustration: Locomotive.]

    [Illustration: Book Jacket.]

	*      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber’s note:

—A few typographical errors were corrected without comment.

—Retained publication information from the printed edition.

—Moved some captions nearer to the corresponding pictures, and removed
  (or adjusted) references to picture location in the printed book.

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