The Eastern Front Battles, June-August 1864 (The Petersburg Campaign, Volume 1)
Edwin C. Bearss, Bryce Suderow
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The wide-ranging and largely misunderstood series of operations around Petersburg, Virginia, were the longest and most extensive of the entire Civil War.
The fighting that began in early June 1864 when advance elements from the Union Army of the Potomac crossed the James River and botched a series of attacks against a thinly defended city would not end for nine long months. This important-many would say decisive-fighting is presented by legendary Civil War author Edwin C. Bearss in The Petersburg Campaign: The Eastern Front Battles, June - August 1864, the first in a ground-breaking two-volume compendium.
weakness.” At this, the son spoke up and told the officer to remember that if he was where duty called he would have had no opportunity to see “his mother’s tears.” This cut silenced the shirker, and “the mother, nerved by her son’s manly speech, soon recovered” her poise.224 Union gun spotters sighted Mahone’s battle line as it emerged from the pines near Flowers’ house. Men of Battery H, 1st New York and the 15th New York Battery wheeled their eight Napoleons to the left, and with a
in reserve at Gurley’s.10 Early in the afternoon, Warren’s scouts reported that as they pushed northward, they had established contact with Confederate outposts about one mile north of Globe Tavern. This was about 1,300 yards south of the Petersburg fortifications. The V Corps skirmishers, however, had been unable to pinpoint any Confederate troop concentrations; notwithstanding the reports that Warren had been receiving from personnel in the signal towers telling that the Southerners were
ridge separating the east and west branches of Poor Creek. Although hammered by the Rebel artillery and ripped up by well-aimed infantry volleys, the Yanks fought their way through the pines, and into the ravine beyond. Here, the advance was checked. These gains, which had carried the battle flags of Griffin’s division and Carle’s brigade to within 150 yards of the Rebs’ main line of resistance, had been made at a heavy cost. Among the desperately wounded was Colonel Chamberlain.236 Cutler’s
occasional report of a rifle musket off to his left, there came the terrible full-throated roar that informed the general that serious combat had opened. As Pierce rode down his line toward the 12th New York Battery, he found the road jammed with frightened refugees from Mott’s division. Pierce called for the officers to rally their men behind the works occupied by Blaisdell’s brigade.98 The rifle pits defended by O’Brien’s brigade had been subjected to an hour’s bombardment by Confederate guns
bluecoats to ground their arms. All told during the day’s expedition, the division had captured 600 prisoners, including 28 officers.173 Wilcox’s division, on the 23rd, had been redeployed. The Light Division was pulled out of the rifle pits near the Weldon Railroad and marched a mile to the left, where the brigades relieved the troops holding the works to the right and left of the Jerusalem Plank Road. As this movement was made during the daylight hours, with part of the route in “full view of