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Chapter 14: siege of Petersburg. Richmond, on the left bank of the James, and Petersburg, on the right bank of the Appomattox, were strategic twin cities twenty-one miles apart. The capture of one embraced the fall of the other. Richmond proper, from a point on the river below to a position on the river above, was easily defended. Its investment would still leave the Weldon, Lynchburg, or Southside, and Danville Railroad open for supplies. Circumvallating lines around Petersburg would ultimately close all of them; this done, Richmond must be evacuated. But were it possible to capture Richmond first, to Burkeville, the junction of the Southside and Danville roads, the Southern army must retreat, not to Petersburg. Grant, though not remarkable as a strategist, promptly saw the way to reach the Confederate capital. To reach Richmond it was necessary to batter down the gates of Petersburg. Butler made several attempts to capture the city before Grant took him under his cha