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The Battle of Petersburg, June 15-18, 1864

With my intense interest in the Petersburg Campaign, I would be remiss if I did not mention the anniversary of Day 1 of the four day Battle of Petersburg. General Beauregard defended the eastern portions of the Dimmock line surrounding Petersburg, and his troops hung on by the slimmest of margins while the general tried to convince Lee that portions of the Army of the Potomac had crossed the James. Lee, in one of his rare miscalculations, withheld reinforcements from the Army of Northern Virginia for several ciritical days. The Union forces, however, failed to launch a large enough attack to break the Confederate lines during this period. By the time they did manage to coordinate their attacks on June 18, Lee had reinforced the Confederate lines to the point where even these assaults failed. Both sides settled into a long Siege as a result.

For further reading on the battle (in order of usefulness as far as a detailed description of the battle):

-Howe, Thomas. Petersburg Campaign: Wasted Valor June 15-18, 1864 (The Virginia Civil War Battles and Leaders Series). H E Howard; 2nd ed edition (June 1988). 192 pages.

-"The Petersburg Assaults, June 15-18" from the Siege of Petersburg web site

-Trudeau, Noah Andre. The Last Citadel: Petersburg, Virginia, June 1864-April 1865. Louisiana State University Press; Reprint edition (April 1993). 514 pages.

-Horn, John. The Petersburg Campaign: June 1864 - April 1865. Da Capo Press (January 2000). 292 pages.


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I'm glad to see a post on this engagement. This assault was the bloodiest day of fighting for several of the regiments that I study. It was such a terrible waste of the AOP veterans that were left alive after the Overland Campaign. I would venture to say that most Civil War "buffs" aren't even aware of this battle (except for the charge of the 1st Maine HA). BTW, do you know how Rhea is coming along with the last installment of his Spring 1864 series, and if it will cover June 15-18?


I've heard "through the grapevine" that Rhea's last book should be out some time in 2007, but that's as detailed as it gets. I know for a fact that the June 15-18 attacks are covered, but my sources again get unclear as far as how long after this Rhea goes. At most, he might cover the Battles for the Jerusalem Plank Road, but since that is technically part of the Siege, I'm not holding my breath.


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