2 The Number Of Hours Of Daylight Is Greatest When A Battle Worth Remembering

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A Battle Worth Remembering

The Petersburg Campaign, which ran from June 1864 to April 1865, was the longest campaign of the American Civil War. The decisive defeat of the Confederate lines defending Petersburg on April 2, 1865 was the last battle of the conference. In my opinion, it is an underappreciated battle and deserves more consideration.

A. Wilson Greene, author of the book Breaking the Backbone of the Rebellion – The Final Battles of The Petersburg Campaign, coined the term “Breakthrough” to describe this event. Will Greene is also the director of the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier and Pamplin Historical Park, which is home to the Sixth Corps’ major offensive that led to the Explosion and a site that has been described as “the new gem of the Civil War in America” ​​by James M. McPherson , a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian. The 422-acre park features many trails bordering well-preserved Confederate fortifications and numerous exhibits including a world-class museum.

Despite the recognition of the Victory by prominent historians and the investment of tens of millions of dollars to transform Pamplin Historical Park into the first site of the Civil War, which historians, academics, and various scholars continue to change. from the Battle of Five Forks on April 1 straight to Lee’s surrender at Appomattox on April 9. In their minds, the attack on April 2 was completely unnecessary. I strongly disagree with this point! The attack had great significance for the outcome of the war, but its importance was lost between the joy of victory and the sadness of defeat. Please give me a chance to express my thoughts.

Grant’s Overland Campaign began in early May 1864. After six weeks and several bloody battles, the Union Army of the Potomac closed in on Petersburg, the seventh largest city in the Confederacy and the second largest in Virginia in population and the need for strategy. Petersburg, a transportation center located at the ford of the Appomattox River, was the junction of five major railroads and important wagon roads, including two all-weather wooden roads. These were important links for Petersburg and Richmond to the rest of the Confederacy.

Union forces made repeated attempts in the following months to break the Confederate lines, including the fiasco at the Battle of the Crater. After several unsuccessful attacks, the Union Army’s line of work extended its lines westward until it finally cut the Boydton Plank Road and the South Side Railroad. The purpose of the pledge was to advance the limited resources of the Confederates to support that expansion. However, General Ulysses S. Grant’s biggest fear when he woke up every morning was knowing that Robert E. Lee’s troops had left his lines overnight and were on the way to join Joseph E. Johnston in North Carolina.

General Lee, well aware of the worsening situation in the lines at Petersburg, had to take action to get his army out of trouble. Staying in place will destroy his army. After considering several options, he ordered General John B. Gordon to plan an attack on the Union Army that would support two strategies, both of which would connect Lee’s Army, or his potion, and Johnston.

To accomplish this goal, Gordon planned to destroy Fort Stedman near the City Point Railroad to cut off the critical Federal supply line. It was hoped that this would force Grant to shorten his front in order to protect the damaged road. In turn, this would allow Lee to shorten his lines and withdraw part of his army to Johnston’s support. The bold plan envisioned the defeat of Sherman and the combined army, which would return to Petersburg to defeat Grant. If the attack failed to shorten the Union lines, then the entire Army of Northern Virginia would abandon the defenses of Petersburg and head for North Carolina.

The attack on Fort Stedman was launched on the afternoon of March 25th and was successful for the first time because of all the surprise they had achieved. Fort Stedman was captured as were nearby batteries 10 and 11. However, the Union defenders at battery 9 and Fort Haskell refused to surrender. Gordon’s speed was checked and within two hours General Lee ordered General Gordon to withdraw his troops. Then, after several days of heavy rain, Lee’s Army began to collect supplies and wait for the roads to improve enough for their lean animals to pull wagons and ammunition.

Meanwhile, Grant sent Sheridan to reinforce the left flank of the Union lines. Lee sent George Pickett and Fitzhugh Lee to Five Forks with orders to hold the point at all costs. Sheridan’s cavalry, supported by the Fifth Corps, attacked the Confederate position at Five Forks on April 1 with just two hours left in the afternoon. By nightfall, the Union army had a very difficult road, located three miles from the South Side Railroad.

Several officers on General Grant’s staff began to celebrate when the news of the victory at Five Forks was received, but Grant was silent and defeated. He knew that the work was not over. Grant went to his tent and a few minutes later he reappeared handing the papers to the order to be sent over the field telephone. He joined the group of policemen surrounding the fire and calmly said, “I have ordered the attacks to be carried out.” The Second Corps, Sixth Corps, Ninth Corps, and Twenty-fourth Corps would attack at dawn the next morning on the Confederate line that ran 37 miles from White Oak Swamp, east of Richmond, to Hatcher’s Run, southwest of the city. . Petersburg.

The endurance of the Confederate soldiers during the attack and the victory of the day was remarkable. These soldiers were the stalwarts of the Army of Northern Virginia and resisted stoutly in the face of great odds. The strength of the Confederate fortifications and the bravery of the defenders were such that only the Sixth Corps succeeded in cutting the line in its front. The attack of the other corps lasted until the breech which the veterans of the Sixth Corps had made caused the Confederate lines to fall. Before the end of the day, Federal troops had cut the South Side Railroad, reached the Appomattox River above Petersburg, and rendered Lee’s entire position untenable. The victory destroyed Petersburg, Richmond, the Army of Northern Virginia, and the Southern Confederacy.

The great Union victory was not named at the time, although it could have been called the Battle of Boisseau Farm, or the Battle of Duncan Road, but this did not happen. Events and information rushed to the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House, a week later.

Union casualties at Breakthrough were over 4,000 and the Confederate defenders suffered about 5,000 casualties. The combined losses of the war exceeded those known, yet the war had no name until recently and has been largely ignored. Indeed, many historians, apparently tired of writing about the Petersburg Campaign, skipped from Five Forks to Appomattox, not to mention the Battle of Saylor’s Creek a few days later.

In order to better understand the meaning of the Blowing, we must consider what the Head of the Governing Body said on the matter. General Grant called the battle of April 2, 1865 “one of the great victories of the war.” General Meade, commander of the Army of the Potomac, described the “success” of the Sixth Corps as “the decisive move of this campaign which resulted in the capture of the army of Northern Virginia.” These facts prove that Five Forks only sets the stage. The collapse of the Confederate lines defending Petersburg, the fall of Richmond, and Lee’s surrender at Appomattox were the results of the Victory.

Thinking about the past benefits our knowledge of the consequences of war. From today’s perspective, it would seem that everything was unexpected. However, this was not the case for the soldiers whose lives were in danger during the last weeks of the war. Union soldiers saw the Confederate lines being built and knew that the fortifications were dangerous. However on the morning of April 2nd he made a difficult charge against a strong and determined enemy and did so with courage and bravery. For the Confederate defenders, it was a desperate battle; yet they stood their ground and fought with perseverance and courage. For both soldiers, North and South, it was “one last, bloody, famous day.”

The Great Victory at Petersburg is a battle worth remembering.

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