The Army of Northern Virginia: Lee's Army in the American Civil War, 1861-1865

By Philip Katcher | Go to book overview

Cold Harbor to Petersburg

By June 1864, the war in Virginia had concentrated south of the James around Petersburg. Meanwhile, Jubal Early was to make a last attack through Maryland toward Washington before Phil Sheridan swept the Confederacy out of the Valley forever.

Lee and his troops didn't realize it, but for most units by the first weeks of June the mobile campaign was almost over for the year. Time dragged on as Lee and Grant exchanged messages about the removal of the dead from in front of the Confederate trenches. Meanwhile the men relaxed for the first time in months. This close to Richmond, it was easier for the commissary to get both food for the men and forage for the horses, and both ate well for the first time in a while.

The situation in front of Richmond may have stabilized, but the news from the Shenandoah Valley was not good. A Federal force under Major-General David Hunter now occupied Staunton, western terminus of the Virginia Central Railroad, and Grant had sent his cavalry commander Major-General Philip Sheridan with two divisions to join him. To meet this threat, Lee sent two brigades west under Breckinridge, as well as most of his cavalry under Wade Hampton. Hampton's cavalry headed off on a route parallel to Sheridan's, reaching Louisa Court House on June 10, before sending a part of his force on to Trevilian's Station, 28 miles (45 km) west of Charlottesville, where he planned to meet Sheridan's troops. Hampton's plan was to have Fitzhugh Lee attack Sheridan's men from the east. As Lee was on the move, however, he was hit by a Union cavalry division, led by a brigade commanded by a young brigadier-general, George A. Custer, that drove his brigades back, and captured a number of wagons.

Hampton was outnumbered and fell back, to be joined by Fitzhugh Lee on the 11th. Both sides prepared to renew the fight the next day. The Federals attacked, the Confederates held, and at the end of the day, Sheridan fell back to Grant, his mission of joining Hunter foiled. Casualties for the Confederates were

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The Army of Northern Virginia: Lee's Army in the American Civil War, 1861-1865
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Key to Maps 6
  • Foreword 7
  • Introduction 8
  • Part I - Creating the Machine 9
  • Background to War 11
  • Recruitment and Training 27
  • Nature of the War 43
  • Logistics 63
  • Part II - The Years of Attack 81
  • The First Manassas Campaign 83
  • Jackson's Valley Campaign 101
  • The Peninsula Campaign 119
  • The Second Manassas Campaign 139
  • The 1862 Maryland Campaign 155
  • Fredericksburg 173
  • Chancellorsville 191
  • Gettysburg 209
  • Part III - The Nature of the Army 229
  • Robert E. Lee 231
  • The Senior Command Structure 245
  • The Rank and File 259
  • The Army and the State Authorities 273
  • Part IV - The Years of Defense 285
  • The Winter of 1863-64 287
  • The Wilderness to Cold Harbor 301
  • Cold Harbor to Petersburg 315
  • The Final Campaign 329
  • Bibliography 345
  • Index 348
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