The Siege Of Richmond And Petersburg

1014 words - 5 pages

The Richmond-Petersburg campaign began on June 9, 1864, and ended on March 25, 1865. It was General Grant's attempt to rebound from his horrific loss at Cold Harbor. Grant wanted to finish Lee and his army by flanking and encircling them in Virginia. Although it lead Lee's army to the brink of losing all their supplies and forced him to eventually retreat from both cities; the Siege of Richmond and Petersburg was not actually considered a siege, but rather a nine months of trench warfare (which was a new concept of warfare at the time). The decision to abandon the two cities ultimately lead to the defeat and surrender of the Confederate States of America.
General Grant, after being ...view middle of the document...

They had little experience in leading troops and instantly froze at the display of Confederate earthworks that opposed them. General Butler was so furious with Gillmore that he had him arrested. On June 15, 1864 General Grant sent another wave of attacks on Petersburg. Despite their previous failure, Butler's army was once again selected to lead the second assaults on Petersburg. William Smith and his men managed to break through the Confederate lines around Harrison's Creek. But he did not continue the attack because he was tentative regarding his orders. On June 17, various uncoordinated Union attacks were launched. None had any significant success in penetrating the Dimmock Line. After four days and little success, General Meade finally decided to pull back. The Union suffered over 11,000 casualties in the time span of the assaults, and the Confederates in comparison a mere 4,000 casualties. Although Lee had failed to thwart the Union army from laying siege to the city of Petersburg. Grant realized he couldn't easily take the city by assault, so he began cutting railroads between Petersburg and Richmond. For about a month the two sides continued to skirmish with each other, until Grant launched the Battle of the Carter.
Grant was determined to defeat Lee, and though he realized it would be difficult, he preferred an assault to a drawn out siege (especially after his experiences at Vicksburg). General Ambrose Burnside proposed to dig under the confederate lines and a fort known as "Elliott's Salient". The explosion had created a 80-foot deep crater in the middle of the confederate lines, which James Ledlie lead his men directly into. The Confederates cut down Ledlie's soldiers and the plan had failed. Burnside sent more men into the crater, but they were also annihilated. The Confederates had not only successfully stopped General Burnside, but also lost him his job! Union casualties were almost 4,000 with Confederate casualties at only 1,500. For nearly a...

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