previous next

‘From this time forward,’ says Grant in his report, ‘the operations in front of Petersburg and Richmond, until the spring campaign of 1865, were confined to the defense and extension of our lines and to offensive movements for crippling the enemy's lines of communication and to prevent his detaching any considerable force to send South. By the 7th of February (1865), our lines were extended to Hatcher's run, and the Weldon railroad had been destroyed to Hicksford.’ In December, Grant recalled the Sixth corps from the Shenandoah valley to his army, when Lee at once brought the Second corps, from the same region, to the trenches at Petersburg. Sheridan's big army of 56,000 men had neither cut the Virginia Central railway at Staunton, Charlottesville or Gordonsville, nor had it captured Lee's base of supplies at Lynchburg, having been held in the valley by Early, who had inflicted upon him a loss of 17,000.

Dr. Henry Alexander White, in his every way admirable Life of Lee, says of the army of Northern Virginia, at this time:

Winter poured down its snows and its sleet upon Lee's shelterless men in the trenches. Some of them burrowed into the earth. Most of them shivered over the feeble fires kept burning along the lines. Scanty and thin were the garments of these heroes. Most of them were clad in mere rags. Gaunt famine oppressed them every hour. One quarter of a pound of rancid bacon and a little meal was the daily portion assigned to each man by the rules of the war department But even this allowance failed when the railroads broke down and left the bacon and the flour and the meal piled up beside the tracks in Georgia and the Carolinas. One-sixth of this daily ration was the allotment for a considerable time, and very often the supply of bacon failed entirely. At the close of the year (1864) Grant had 110,000 men. Lee had 66,000 on his rolls, but this included men on detached duty, leaving him barely 40,000 soldiers to defend the trenches that were then stretched out 40 miles in length from the Chickahominy to Hatcher's run. With dauntless hearts these gaunt-faced men endured the almost ceaseless fire of Grant's mortar batteries. The frozen fingers of Lee's army of sharpshooters clutched the musket barrel with an aim so steady that Grant's men scarcely ever lifted their heads from their bomb proofs.

On the 5th of February, Grant again sent a large force to his left to capture Lee's defenses on Hatcher's run. This was driven back by three divisions of Confederates, and the Federal line of the Fifth corps was broken by a charge of Gen. C. A. Evans' division. During this engagement, the brave Gen. John Pegram, who commanded at Rich mountain in July, 1861, was killed.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Fitz Lee (7)
U. S. Grant (6)
Hatcher (3)
Henry Alexander White (1)
Philip H. Sheridan (1)
John Pegram (1)
C. A. Evans (1)
Jubal A. Early (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1865 AD (2)
1864 AD (1)
July, 1861 AD (1)
December (1)
February 7th (1)
February 5th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: