War of the Rebellion: Serial 081 Introduction

Search Civil War Original Records



Intro
Richmond, Petersburg Intro



Vol. 40 Introduction - Serial 81

Grant's goal was Richmond, but he knew the strength of its defenses. Rather than waste lives in replays of Cold Harbor, he decided to outflank Richmond, by attacking Petersburg, the rail junction that supplied Richmond. He could supply himself by sea down the Virginia rivers, and the idea was excellent; only the execution failed. The troops involved moved too slowly (perhaps the long-term influence of having been under Ben Butler) and small but well-led Confederate forces held on just long enough. The South had saved the day, but was trapped in a siege where numbers and supplies were against them.
Grant was not going to simply sit still in front of the Confederates; he tried to use his superior numbers and outflank the defenses, and also tried to break through - with a mine. The Battle of the Crater was the result, another brilliant opportunity thrown away by clumsy execution.

This volume has supporting correspondence, orders, returns, etc. about the Richmond-Petersburg campaign. The majority are from the Union Army.



Intro
Richmond, Petersburg Intro