had intrenched a greater portion of the Army of the James at Bermuda Hundred
, at the junction of the James
and Appomattox rivers
, early in May, 1864, to co-operate with the Army of the Potomac, approaching from the north.
His chief care was at first to prevent reinforcements being sent to Lee
and the South
For this purpose Butler
proceeded to destroy the railway between Petersburg
, and so to cut off direct communication between the Confederate
capital and the South
When it was known that General Gillmore
had withdrawn his troops from before Charleston
to join Butler
was ordered to hasten northward to confront the Army of the James.
He had arrived at Petersburg
, and was hourly reinforced.
Some of these troops he massed in front of Butler
, under Gen. D. H. Hill
; and finally, on the morning of May 16, under cover of a dense fog, they attempted to turn Butler
's right flank.
A sharp conflict ensued between about 4,000 Nationals and 3,000 Confederates, which resulted in the retirement of Butler
's forces within their intrenchments.
For several days afterwards there was much skirmishing in front of Butler
's lines, when he received orders to send nearly two-thirds of his effective force to the north side of the James
to assist the Army of the Potomac, then contending with Lee
's Army of Northern Virginia.
complied with the requisition, which deprived him of all power to make any further offensive movements.
“The necessities of the army of the Potomac,” he said, “have bottled me up at Bermuda Hundred
This expression was afterwards used to his disadvantage.
See Butler, Benjamin Franklin.