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Entrenched along the west bank of the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg, Virginia, these Union soldiers were about to take part in the pivotal Battle of Chancellorsville, beginning on April 30, Confederate President Jefferson Davis. President Abraham Lincoln. Library of Congress via Getty Images. African-Americans collect the bones of soldiers killed in battle at Cold Harbor, Virginia, June Partially titled "A harvest of death," this photo depicts just a few of the fallen soldiers at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania following the historic battle there in July Timothy H.

Three Confederate soldiers who were captured at Gettysburg, summer Library of Congress. Abraham Lincoln indicated by red arrow arrives at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, , not long before delivering his Gettysburg Address. Library of Congress via Wikimedia Commons. Crewmembers of the USS Wissahickon standing by the ship's gun, circa Union General Phil Sheridan.

Sheridan gave the photographer the hat he is wearing here, but workmen would later steal it from a trunk in the photography studio's cellar. Confederate dead at the Battle of Spotsylvania in Virginia, May On June 18, , a cannon shot took both arms of Alfred Stratton. He was just 19 years old. Overall, one in 13 Civil War soldiers became amputees. Union soldiers from Company D, U. Engineer Battalion, pose during the siege in August in Petersburg, Virginia.

Civil War: Death in the Trenches: Grant at Petersburg

General Ulysses S. Grant in City Point, Virginia, August Union soldier Francis E. Brownell, wearing a Zouave uniform, with a bayoneted musket. The Medal of Honor recipient has a black crape tied to his left arm in mourning for Col. Grant center and his staff pose in the summer of in City Point, Virginia. Union officers and enlisted men stand around a inch mortar, the "Dictator," on the platform of a flatbed railroad car in October, near Petersburg, Virginia. Mary Chambers rated it it was amazing May 27, Bill S.

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About William C. William C. Currently professor of history at Virginia Tech, William C. Davis has written over fifty books, most about the American Civil War. Landry Award for Southern history once, and has been twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. For several years, he was the editor of the magazine Civil War Times Illustrated. Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. Soon, winter's freezing and thawing turned the region's dirt roads into quagmires, and the armies settled into cheerless winter camps.

This efficient example of Northern industrial and engineering prowess connected Grant's huge supply base at City Point with the front, delivering bread still warm from the ovens. The Confederates had no such facilities. Shortages of firewood were endemic, and most units experienced prolonged periods where available rations and warm clothing failed to meet the army's basic needs.

Lee confronted a distressing and increasing volume of desertions as veteran soldiers succumbed to hunger, pessimism, and the repeated pleas of their suffering families. A brief break in the weather early in February allowed Union forces to lunge at the Boydton Plank Road, but Lee repulsed them at the Battle of Hatcher's Run , both armies extending their lines after the fight.

The Confederates faced a more severe crisis in late March. The spring sun began to dry the roads in Dinwiddie County , promising renewed military action. Even more ominously, Major General Philip H. Sheridan , Grant's commander in the Shenandoah Valley, had dispatched the remnants of Early's army and was riding toward Petersburg with some ten thousand well-armed cavalry. Ord, Grant unleashed his final Petersburg offensive on March Pickett , west to the critical intersection at Five Forks.

This junction controlled Grant's best access to the South Side Railroad.

Record Details

The next day, Sheridan and the Union Fifth Corps counterattacked and scattered Pickett's troops at Five Forks, setting the stage for the campaign's climactic day. Grant ordered a massive assault at dawn on April 2, , hoping to sustain Sheridan against a possible counterblow at Five Forks and exploit any weakness along the Confederate lines. By a. As a result, Lee informed Confederate president Jefferson Davis that he would be compelled to evacuate both Petersburg and the capital that night. Union forces finally captured the South Side Railroad, while Lee fought determined rearguard actions west and south of Petersburg, allowing him to execute his retreat plans after dark.

At the next morning, a Michigan regiment entered Petersburg and raised the American flag above the courthouse and post office.

Suggested Readings - Petersburg National Battlefield (U.S. National Park Service)

For the first time in nearly four years, Petersburg belonged to the Union. Unlike the chaos that prevailed in Richmond, Petersburg surrendered amid only moderate degrees of arson and pillage. The Union leaders discussed postwar policy until Grant departed to execute the campaign that would eventually corral Lee.

The Crater at Petersburg: War Department

One division of Union troops remained in Petersburg, while the bulk of Grant's forces dashed west, preventing Lee from turning south to join Confederate general Joseph E. Johnston 's forces in North Carolina. Finally, on April 9, , Grant cornered his enemy at Appomattox Court House and met with Lee that afternoon to effect the surrender of the Confederacy's principal army.

Events at Appomattox hastened the surrender of other Confederate forces, placing the Petersburg Campaign as the proximate cause of the end of the war. Greene, A. Petersburg Campaign. In Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 9 Jul. Thank you!

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Grant Robert E. Background When Grant arrived in the East in March as general-in-chief of all Union armies, he hoped to destroy his Confederate opponents on the battlefield. Time Line June 9, - Fletcher H. Archer leads his Virginia Reserves in a successful defense of Petersburg against a Union cavalry attack in what comes to be known as the Battle of Old Men and Young Boys. June 12, - Union general Ulysses S. Grant begins his shift away from the lines at Cold Harbor.

June 14, - Union general Ulysses S. Grant's army begins to reach the south side of the James River. June 15—18, - The opening battle for control of the city of Petersburg results in the capture of several miles of Confederate line, but the Confederates maintain control of the city. June 22—24, - Union general Ulysses S. June 25, - Members of the 48th Pennsylvania, miners led by Lieutenant Colonel Henry Pleasants, begin digging a long tunnel to the Confederate lines in front of Petersburg.