2nd USCT Infantry Regiment 1st USCT Infantry Regiment 1st Alabama Cavalry Regiment 1861 Skirmishes 1862 Skirmishes 1863 Skirmishes 1864 Skirmishes 1865 Skirmishes Alternate Battle Names 3rd Regiment Alabama Infantry 1861-04-12 Battle of Fort Sumter 1861-04-15 Evacuation of Fort Sumter 1861-04-19 Riots in Baltimore 1861-05-07 Gloucester Point 1861-05-10 Camp Jackson 1861-05-10 Riots in St. Louis 1861-05-18 Sewell’s Point 1861-05-29 Aquia Creek 1861-06-01 Fairfax Court House I 1861-06-01 Arlington Mills 1861-06-03 Philippi 1861-06-05 Pig Point 1861-06-10 Big Bethel 1861-06-15 Hooe’s Ferry 1861-06-17 Vienna 1861-06-17 Boonville 1861-06-19 Cole Camp 1861-06-27 Mathias Point 1861-07-02 Hoke’s Run 1861-07-05 Carthage 1861-07-05 Neosho 1861-07-08 Laurel Hill 1861-07-11 Rich Mountain 1861-07-12 Barboursville 1861-07-13 Corrick’s Ford 1861-07-17 Scary Creek 1861-07-17 Bunker Hill 1861-07-18 Blackburn’s Ford 1861-07-21 Manassas I 1861-07-22 Forsyth 1861-07-25 Mesilla I 1861-07-27 Fort Fillmore 1861-07-28 Sinking of the Petrel 1861-08 Siege of Tubac 1861-08 Cooke’s Canyon 1861-08 Battle of the Florida Mountains 1861-08-02 Dug Springs 1861-08-03 Curran Post Office 1861-08-05 Athens 1861-08-07 Hampton 1861-08-10 Wilson’s Creek 1861-08-10 Potosi 1861-08-19 Charleston 1861-08-25 Mason’s Hill 1861-08-26 Kessler’s Cross Lanes 1861-08-28 Hatteras Inlet Batteries 1861-08-31 Munson’s Hill 1861-09-02 Dry Wood Creek 1861-09-02 Gallinas Massacre 1861-09-08 Placito 1861-09-10 Carnifex Ferry 1861-09-11 Lewinsville 1861-09-12 Cheat Mountain 1861-09-12 Lexington I 1861-09-17 Liberty 1861-09-19 Barbourville 1861-09-21 Fredericktown I 1861-09-24 Canada Alamosa 1861-09-27 Pinos Altos 1861-10-03 Greenbrier River 1861-10-05 Cockle Creek 1861-10-09 Santa Rosa Island 1861-10-12 Battle of the Head of Passes 1861-10-21 Ball’s Bluff 1861-10-21 Camp Wildcat 1861-10-21 Fredericktown II 1861-10-23 Big Sandy Expedition 1861-10-25 Springfield I 1861-11-03 Port Royal 1861-11-07 Belmont 1861-11-08 Ivy Mountain 1861-11-19 Round Mountain 1861-11-20 Skirmish at Brownsville 1861-11-20 Hunter’s Mills 1861-12-04 Bog Wallow Ambush 1861-12-09 Chusto-Talasah 1861-12-13 Camp Allegheny 1861-12-17 Rowlett’s Station 1861-12-19 Skirmish at Blackwater Creek 1861-12-20 Dranesville 1861-12-26 Chustenahlah 1861-12-28 Mount Zion Church 1861-12-28 Sacramento 1862-01-01 Crook’s 1862 Expedition 1862-01-03 Cockpit Point 1862-01-05 Hancock 1862-01-08 Roan’s Tan Yard 1862-01-10 Middle Creek 1862-01-11 Lucas Bend 1862-01-19 Mill Springs

1864-06-09 Petersburg I

Virginia

Start: 1864-06-09

ResultsCSA Battle Flag small

Photo Gallery

Introduction

The First Battle of Petersburg was an unsuccessful Union assault against the earthworks fortifications—the Dimmock Line—protecting the city of Petersburg, Virginia, June 9, 1864, during the American Civil War. Because of the rag-tag group of defenders involved, it is sometimes known as the Battle of Old Men and Young Boys.

Background

In early June 1864, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Gen. Robert E. Lee were engaged in the Overland Campaign, facing each other in their trenches after the bloody Battle of Cold Harbor. Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler was bottled up in the Bermuda Hundred area to the east of Richmond, Virginia, attempting to distract Lee by attacking Richmond. Butler realized that Richmond was supplied by railroads that converged in the city of Petersburg, to the south, and that taking Petersburg would cripple Lee’s supply lines. He was also aware that Confederate troops had been moving north to reinforce Lee, leaving the defenses of Petersburg in a vulnerable state. Sensitive to his failure in the Bermuda Hundred Campaign, Butler sought to achieve a success to vindicate his generalship. He wrote,

“The capture of Petersburg lay near my heart.”

Petersburg was protected by fortifications known as the Dimmock Line, a line of earthworks 10 miles (16 km) long, east of the city, including 55 artillery batteries, and anchored on the Appomattox River. The 2,500 Confederates stretched thin along this defensive line were commanded by a former Virginia governor, Brig. Gen. Henry A. Wise; the overall defense of Richmond and Petersburg was the responsibility of Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, commander of the Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia.

Butler’s plan was formulated on the afternoon of June 8, 1864, calling for 3 columns to cross the Appomattox and advance from City Point (now named Hopewell, Virginia) with 4,500 men. The first and second consisted of infantry from Maj. Gen. Quincy A. Gillmore’s X Corps and U.S. Colored Troops from Brig. Gen. Edward W. Hinks’ 3rd Division of XVIII Corps, which would attack the Dimmock Line east of the city. The third was 1,300 cavalrymen under Brig. Gen. August Kautz, who would sweep around Petersburg and strike it from the southeast. If any of these three forces made a breakthrough, it would be able to move into the rear of the defenders opposing the other two. Butler originally designated Hinks to command the operation, but Gillmore insisted that he was the senior officer and Butler later complained,

“I was fool enough to yield to him.”

Order of Battle

Battle

The troops moved out on the night of June 8, but made poor progress. The column of Gillmore’s infantry got lost in the dark. Although Hinks arrived on time, he was ordered to wait for Gillmore so that all of the infantry could cross before the cavalry. Eventually the infantry crossed by 3:40 a.m. on June 9 and were ordered to move forward against the enemy’s picket line at daylight. By 7 a.m., both Gillmore and Hinks had encountered the enemy, but stopped at their fronts. Gillmore, an engineering officer with no experience leading troops in combat, hesitated at the sight of the formidable earthworks. Hinks also felt that the Confederate defenses were too strong and that he could not move forward unless Gillmore attacked with him. Gillmore told Hinks that he would attack but that both of the infantry columns should await the cavalry assault from the south.

Kautz’s men did not arrive until noon, however, having been delayed en route by numerous enemy pickets. They assaulted the Dimmock Line where it crossed the Jerusalem Plank Road (present-day U.S. Route 301), at Battery 27, also known as Rives’ Salient, with 150 militiamen, commanded by Maj. Fletcher H. Archer, manning two artillery lunettes. Kautz launched a probing attack by the 5th Pennsylvania Cavalry against the militiamen, then paused and ordered his men to dismount. Confederate Brig. Gen. Raleigh E. Colston, who happened to be in the city without assignment at the time, brought forward a 12-pound howitzer to fire at the Union cavalrymen, but found that he had no antipersonnel rounds. Colston retreated under pressure as the 5th Pennsylvania Cavalry, the 1st District of Columbia Cavalry, and the 11th Pennsylvania Cavalry began to flank him.

Kautz then launched his main attack by the 11th Pennsylvania against the Home Guard, a group consisting primarily of teenagers, elderly men, and some wounded soldiers from city hospitals. The Home Guards retreated to the city with heavy losses, but by this time Beauregard had been able to bring reinforcements from Richmond to bear: the 4th North Carolina Cavalry, part of the 7th Confederate States Cavalry from the Bermuda Hundred line, and an artillery battery. They were able to repulse the Union assault. Kautz, hearing no activity on Gillmore’s front, presumed that he was left on his own and withdrew.

Aftermath

Confederate casualties were about 80, Union 40. Butler was furious with Gillmore’s timidity and incompetence and arrested him. Gillmore requested a court of inquiry, which was never convened, but Grant later reassigned him and the incident was dropped. On June 14–17, Grant and the Army of the Potomac slipped away from Lee and crossed the James River. They began moving towards Petersburg to support and renew Butler’s assaults. The Second Battle of Petersburg and the Siege of Petersburg would soon follow.

Casualties

Total Killed Wounded Missing Captured
USA Battle Flag 40
CSA Battle Flag small 80
Combined Forces

References: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Battle_of_Petersburg

2016 civilwartroops.org ©