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By Ron Field

In 1864, Petersburg, Virginia turned the environment for one of many final nice campaigns of the yankee Civil conflict (1861-1865) and the longest siege in American heritage. After his failure to trap Richmond within the Spring, basic Ulysses S. furnish made up our minds to strangle the existence out of the accomplice military of Northern Virginia by way of surrounding town of Petersburg and removing basic Robert E. Lee's provide strains.

The resulting siege may keep it up for almost ten months, contain 160,000 squaddies, and notice a few pitched battles together with the conflict of the Crater, Reams Station, Hatcher's Run, and White Oak street. yet round those battles have been lengthy days of residing in trenches, enduring negative nutrition and wintry weather climate, and agony consistent artillery bombardment. In April of 1865, furnish ordered a sweeping offensive opposed to the beleaguered Confederates, which broke Lee's correct flank and compelled him to retreat to Appomattox court docket condo, the place he surrendered per week later.

Written through a professional at the American Civil battle, this ebook examines the final conflict among the armies of U.S. furnish and Robert E. Lee.

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Gordon selected fortress Stedman because the aim for assault. contrary Colquitt's Salient and not more than three hundred yards from the accomplice defenses, it was once one of many weakest issues at the Union traces. Named for Colonel Griffin A. Stedman, Jr. , eleven th Connecticut Infantry, who died of wounds sustained whereas "reconnoitering the floor" close to Gracie's Salient on August five, 1864, castle Stedman contained 4 gentle 12-pounder weapons manned by means of the nineteenth big apple Battery, and used to be garrisoned through three hundred males of the twenty ninth Massachusetts Infantry. A provide depot at the US army Railroad used to be a few mile in the back of it. In a record dated April 25 of that yr, Brevet normal Henry L. Abbot, US Engineers, wrote that castle Stedman was once "the weakest and such a lot ill-constructed works within the line, being no longer safe via abatis, or felled timber, within the rear, being masked on its correct (just in rear of Battery No. 10) by way of a mass of bomb-proofs, rendered important by means of the poor hearth which has habitually had position during this area, and being simply approximately 2 hundred yards far-off from the enemy's major line. " through four a. m. on March 25,1865 Gordon had massed 18,000 males, composed of the 3 divisions of his personal corps, strengthened through components of Bushrod Johnson's department of Anderson's Corps. The attack begun because the first accomplice skirmishers complicated and unfolded avenues in the course of the Union defenses via quietly elimination the stumbling blocks. utilizing those openings, squads of picked males infiltrated ahead, shooting complicated pickets and listening posts by way of pretending to be deserters, and establishing gaps in abatis. via those gaps got here 50 axemen whose activity it used to be to hack away sections of the fraise belt blocking off the techniques to the Union fortress. shut at the back of have been 3 storming events of a hundred males each one. This used to be the preliminary wave of a strength that represented approximately 1/2 Lee's final troops. the most assault got here seventy four in 3 columns, which punched throughout the Union strains simply north of citadel Stedman among Batteries IX and X. whereas the left column moved north towards Battery IX, the opposite attacked Battery X and the fortress. The assault was once an entire shock because the Confederates moved quietly during the Union defenses and good earlier than four. 30 a. m. castle Stedman and within reach batteries were captured with little resistance. The Confederates additionally overran regimental encampments situated close by and plenty of of the sleepy occupants have been clubbed down as they staggered from their tents in alarm and panic. in the course of the pandemonium that ensued, Sergeant significant Charles H. Pinkham, 57th Massachusetts Infantry, kept a Union flag via tearing it from the employees, and soon after captured the flag of the 57th North Carolina Infantry. Sergeant Charles Oliver, corporation M, a centesimal Pennsylvania, captured the flag of the thirty first Georgia, and personal James T. Murphy, corporation L, 1st Connecticut, helped paintings a recaptured gun, which laid enfilading hearth at the swarming accomplice assault strength. All 3 males to that end bought the Medal of Honor for bravery during this motion. in the meantime, because the major accomplice strength rounded up approximately 1,000 prisoners, the lead attackers turned misplaced and stressed within the labyrinth of main-line earthworks, connecting trenches, traverses and bombproofs.

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