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Union Strategy in the East - 1864

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  • #76
    Let us return to the greatest offensive launched by the Ben Butler/Army of the James. As recalled above, the Army of James made a surprise crossing over the James River from Bermuda Hundred stronghold complex in a two Corps size assault on or about 09/29/1864.



    The Birney's Corps X took the New Market Road directly out of Deep Bottom bridgehead. For unknown reason (perhaps someone could explain), Birney open with a brigade of United States Colored Troops attack upon the massive New Market Heights entrenchments. They preformed handsomely and professionally but with sharp looses were repulsed as one should have expected. Maybe it was a probing attack to feel out the enemy? Regardless, it seemed to have fired up the entire Corps and it was ordered forward in massive attack. One again the Terry Division were the most effective as they found an open flank and turned it with force. The entire Confederate complex was overrun. However sharp losses (perhaps 850 men shot down) and disorganized commands now confronted the secondary line of Confederate entrenchments protecting Richmond. The progress stalled but valuable assistance help support the Ord Corps XVIII off Corps X left flank as the Confederates could not pull reinforcements to assist.



    At the same time, Ord's Corp XVIII stormed over the surprise pontoon bridge and up the Varina Road into the teeth of so called Caffin's Farm Heights entrenchments. Of all the forts upon this entire Confederate entrenchment complex, facing the whole Army of James, it is here that the greatest fort, called Fort Harrison, holds everything together. The powerful Federal attack wave rolled over the entire Fort Harrison complex and captured the area. The surprise attack worked beautifully as planned. However, the losses were severe and great confusing in the formations organization set in. All of 1st Division General Stannard's regimental commanders were shot down along with many other soldiers shot down. Brigade General Burnham got a fatal shot in the stomach upon leading his men into Fort Harrison throwing things in confusion. A support column got misdirected and repulsed. At some location, Corps Commander Ord fell critically wound and replaced by Godfrey Weitzel. The United States Colored Troops Division in this assault preformed on a heroic level. The assault could not be continued as they too faced a secondary line of entrenchments. Note the Confederates are thrown in a state of panic at these defeats and fall of Fort Harrison. CSA General Robert Lee himself rushed to the scene and scrapped the bottom of the barrel of about 10,000 troops; whereupon he personally led a counterattack to retake Fort Harrison and plug the hole. This attack was defeated by Army of the James new Corp XVIII Godfrey Weitzel directing the defense from within the said Fort. USA General Stannard lost his right arm in this fight. The Confederates would not report their loses but they must have been severe.

    Comment


    • #77
      We should always remember that the Grand Assault by the Army of James/Ben Butler was under orders to be a diversion for the Army of Potomac/Meade. This worked nicely again as it reportedly involved 26,600 Federals and drew off an estimate 14,500 Confederates. It was one heck of a diversion, and I have no doubt in my mind, that if Butler could have gotten his troops in Richmond; he would have done so despite great private jealousness from the High Command and Army of Potomac commanders.

      The scene is now set for the Army of Potomac to launch the reported main attack that was designed to once again turn Bobby Lee's right flank and roll up his entire remaining Army west of the James River. This operation is generally referred to as the Battle of Peeble's Farm. The Federal forces involved were as follows: two divisions of Warren's V Corps, two divisions of IX Corps, and one division of II Corps thrown in at last minute as reinforcements. This assault opened, for once, at the same day as the diversion assault by the Army of James: 09/30/1864. But it would be a bloody fight going on through 10/02/1864. Ben Butler's diversion lasted two days. The results were limited but it remained a slow choking death for the Confederacy. The Federal entrenchments were extended from Weldon's Railroad to Pegram's Farm, which setup a spring board from a promising future assault upon a main supply line.

      It seemed strange that 29,800 Federals could not rout 10,000 Confederates in an open field fight but the assault was checked in general with valuable ground gained. However, the Federals was facing again the outstanding A.P. Hill and the capable Wade Hampton plus those terrible entrenchments. The losses involved were claimed a severe 2,889 Federals and 1,239 Confederates, who were irreplaceable. It is interesting to compare the Army of James losses (the suppose diversion in which one would think would be lesser amount in losses): Federal a sharp loss of 3,372 with a Confederate loss of estimated 2,000. Note the Army of James fighting was over two days only where the Army of Potomac was over twice the time period.

      Comment


      • #78
        Lets now examine a little-known affair, largely overlooked in the Petersburg Campaign history, that in fact, was a significant event in the history of the Civil War. The reason for its significance is because we have CSA Bobby Lee personally returning to this section of the massive battlefield, for the second time in about one week, to supervise a major assault to retake Fort Harrison from the Army of James/Ben Butler. Remember as cited above the first attempted counter attack was, on 09/29/1864, to retake the Fort. The second attempt, commenced and ended, on 10/07/1864, and is usually called the Battle of Darbytown and New Market Road.

        CSA Commander Bobby Lee was gravely serious in this operation; in that he had his Old Warhorse CSA Corp Longstreet present with one division; and followed with CSA Corp Anderson with one division. In addition, Bobby Lee added two division of cavalry under Wade Hampton. It was a powerful strike force. Their target was the section of Federal entrenchments containing Fort Harrison found on the New Market Heights; that was clearly menacingly too close to the Confederate Capital of Richmond. Thus, likely creating a sense of panic among the Confederates, and the reason for this second attempt being ordered on the highest level.

        Unfortunately, for the Confederates the sole Federal division defending this section was the very formidable division of USA Alfred H. Terry. This division had the assistance of one cavalry division under USA Commander Kautz. The powerful Confederate attack first struck the advance position of Kautz cavalry on the Darbytown Road area which was swept away. The rebel forces quickly advanced upon the New Market Heights and Fort Harrison main Federal entrenchments of the Terry Division. After a very severe struggle, the Confederates were soundly repulsed and quit the field of battle. CSA Texas Brigade General Gregg received a fatal shot in the neck leading the attack upon Fort Harrison. Note General Gregg and his Brigade were the ones who were routed out of Fort Harrison only days earlier and they were likely seeking out revenge to recover their reputation. Note also this was the second severe neck shot wound administer upon CSA General Gregg with his first received at Chickamauga. The Confederates losses not officially reported, but estimated conservatively at around 700, with Federals reporting official losses of 458. I have seen Confederate losses estimated at 1,050. Note this represents the second major assault supervised by CSA Commander Bobby Lee that was defeated by the Army of James/Ben Butler.

        Comment


        • #79
          Originally posted by Bo Archer View Post
          Lets now examine a little-known affair, largely overlooked in the Petersburg Campaign history, that in fact, was a significant event in the history of the Civil War. The reason for its significance is because we have CSA Bobby Lee personally returning to this section of the massive battlefield, for the second time in about one week, to supervise a major assault to retake Fort Harrison from the Army of James/Ben Butler. Remember as cited above the first attempted counter attack was, on 09/29/1864, to retake the Fort. The second attempt, commenced and ended, on 10/07/1864, and is usually called the Battle of Darbytown and New Market Road.

          CSA Commander Bobby Lee was gravely serious in this operation; in that he had his Old Warhorse CSA Corp Longstreet present with one division; and followed with CSA Corp Anderson with one division. In addition, Bobby Lee added two division of cavalry under Wade Hampton. It was a powerful strike force. Their target was the section of Federal entrenchments containing Fort Harrison found on the New Market Heights; that was clearly menacingly too close to the Confederate Capital of Richmond. Thus, likely creating a sense of panic among the Confederates, and the reason for this second attempt being ordered on the highest level.

          Unfortunately, for the Confederates the sole Federal division defending this section was the very formidable division of USA Alfred H. Terry. This division had the assistance of one cavalry division under USA Commander Kautz. The powerful Confederate attack first struck the advance position of Kautz cavalry on the Darbytown Road area which was swept away. The rebel forces quickly advanced upon the New Market Heights and Fort Harrison main Federal entrenchments of the Terry Division. After a very severe struggle, the Confederates were soundly repulsed and quit the field of battle. CSA Texas Brigade General Gregg received a fatal shot in the neck leading the attack upon Fort Harrison. Note General Gregg and his Brigade were the ones who were routed out of Fort Harrison only days earlier and they were likely seeking out revenge to recover their reputation. Note also this was the second severe neck shot wound administer upon CSA General Gregg with his first received at Chickamauga. The Confederates losses not officially reported, but estimated conservatively at around 700, with Federals reporting official losses of 458. I have seen Confederate losses estimated at 1,050. Note this represents the second major assault supervised by CSA Commander Bobby Lee that was defeated by the Army of James/Ben Butler.
          Thank you, Bo. This was informative and entertaining: a great way to spend a minute or two while my table opened up. Iíll be eating grits soon, so all I need is a body servant and Iíll be half way to Dixie.
          "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

          "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

          Comment


          • #80
            Thank you right back Mr. American87! I appreciate you remaining on the Field of Battle. You knowing my agenda is to remove the unjust tarnish heap upon the Army of James and Ben Butler plus make small the myth of the "Bottled up in Bermuda Hundred" slur by USA Commander Grant. Grant did apologize for the mistaken slur but it was too late to put back in the Bottle! I personally can forgive Grant but the damage must be forever an act of constantly cleaning up behind. A burden I accept!

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            • #81
              Recently I found an article on the same materials of interest I have been working upon which is exposure of the history of the Army of James. The article is by James S. Price who is reports to be a historian, blogger (please see his Blog THE SABLE ARM), and educator with the article of interest titled: PETERSBURG CAMPAIGN NORTH OF THE JAMES JULY TO OCTOBER 1864. Please allow a part of the article of interest in particular the two Corps attack of 09/29/1864 to be seen below:

              "In late September, Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler approached Grant with intelligence that the defenses of Richmond had been severely weakened. On the third Union thrust north of the river, Butler's entire Army of the James made a two-pronged attack against the capital's fortifications. The XVIII Corps under Maj. Gen. Edward Ord was to cross the James at Aiken's Landing, take the lines near Chaffin's Farm and destroy the Confederate pontoon bridge there before pushing to the New Market Road. The X Corps was tasked with taking the New Market Line farther east before linking up with the XVIII Corps and, together, marching on Richmond.

              Both prongs of the attack went forward before sunrise on September 29. Ord's men quickly pushed aside enemy skirmishers before coming up against Fort Harrison. Although the bastion was lightly defended, the attackers had to negotiate tough terrain hilly ground leading up to a moat and 18-foot ramparts. Brig. Gen. Hiram Burnham fell mortally wounded and Ord went down with a painful leg wound, leaving Brig. Gen. Charles Heckman in charge. Heckman apparently did not understand the attack plan and, instead of pushing on to Chaffin's Bluff, he got bogged down trying to take some of the forts and batteries in rear of Fort Harrison. This would lead to confusion and a bloody clash later in the day at Fort Gilmer.

              Meanwhile, the second prong of the attack had succeeded. In an effort to salvage the reputation of black soldiers in the aftermath of the Battle of the Crater, Butler stuck every regiment of U.S. Colored Troops he had in the vanguard of the attack on the New Market Line. Facing them were 1,800 Rebels under the overall command of Brig. Gen. John Gregg. The first Union attempt to take the New Market Line was, in the words of one survivor, "all cut to pieces." Intense musket and artillery fire shredded the ranks of the oncoming Federals, who withdrew. For 30 brutal minutes a second wave of USCTs endured raking fire from the Confederate lines before bursting through the works. Overall, Butler's colored troops lost 1 out of 3 men in the attack on New Market Heights, and a total of 16 Medals of Honor were awarded for this one action " 14 to African American soldiers and two to white officers."

              Comment


              • #82

                Please allow the Official Records report from USA General Stannard to be presented to this Forum. I have took liberty to delete some minor portions for a better presentation to our viewers. Here we have an excellent first hand report to the capture of Fort Harrison by the Army of James/Ben Butler.

                GEO. J. STANNARD,
                Brevet Major-General of Volunteers.
                Report of operations of First Division, Eighteenth Army Corps, on 29th and 30th of September, 1864:
                In pursuance to verbal orders received from Major-General Ord, commanding corps, this division moved from its late camp, on the line between the Appomattox and James River, at 9 p.m. on the night of 28th of September, and marched, without noise, in the direction of Aiken's Landing, on the James River. At 3 a.m. on the 29th, the division, with Brigadier-General Burnham's (Second) brigade leading, crossed the James River near Aiken's on a pontoon bridge, and taking the road to the left moved in the direction of the enemy's works at Chaffin's farm. Previous to breaking camp on the night of the 28th, two regiments of infantry exchanged the arms heretofore in use for the Spencer repeating rifle. These two regiments were at once, on reaching the north bank of the river, thrown out as skirmishers and flankers. The remainder of the command, having been disposed in column by division, at once moved forward on the road running parallel to the course of the river, and at a few moments after daybreak encountered the enemy's pickets, which were driven in on the run. After pushing them back on their reserves, we continued to drive them at a brisk trot through dense woods for a distance of two or three miles, with few casualties on our side, when we emerged into open ground. Just before debouching from the woods, Brigadier-General Burnham reported to me a strong line of earth-works in his front, mounting heavy guns, which I at once directed him to carry by assault. The enemy now opened furiously from a powerful battery situated at the crest of the hill in my front and from other guns mounted in smaller redoubts situated at various points along the line of works which extended on the enemy's right to the river. The column here left the road, and, inclining to the left, moved directly across a heavy plowed field toward the principal work. The distance was about 1,400 yards, and while traversing this space my command, with the exception of my skirmishers, not having as yet discharged a musket, was exposed to a plunging fire of artillery and musketry, galling in the extreme, and caused them to become somewhat broken. The column, however, pushed gallantly forward until it reached the base of the hill upon which the battery was situated, when it came to a halt, from sheer exhaustion. The enemy were now moving up from their left considerable re-enforcements, and, fearing that the assault would fail by reason of the delay, I sent the column at once to the assault a few moments later, the head of the column gallantly mounted the parapet of Battery Harrison, drove the enemy from his guns, and planted the "Stars and Stripes" on one of its massive traverses. Our captures included 16 pieces of artillery of various calibers and about 50 prisoners, including a lieutenant-colonel in command of the works. My loss in officers and men was quite heavy. Captain D. C. Rix was killed just previous to emerging upon the open ground. The column had scarcely entered the works when the brave Brigadier-General Burnham was mortally wounded by a musket-ball in the bowels. He survived but a few moments. During the events of the morning I had lost from my staff Captain M. B. Bessey, by shell wound in leg; Captain L. N. Converse musket-ball in mouth, and Lieutenant W. J. Ladd musket-ball in neck. My casualties during the day's operation were heavy in proportion to the strength of the command. My field return for 28th of September gave 3,115 men for duty. Of these I lost as follows: Commissioned officers-killed, 8; wounded, 36. Enlisted men 92 killed and 502 wounded.

                Comment


                • #83
                  Here we continued with General Stannard Official Record's report with this involving the next day's action whereupon the Confederates under the supervision of CSA General Bobby Lee himself attempt several assaults to take back Fort Harrison.


                  At about 8 a.m. of the 30th I was directed to resume my former position inside the battery. Nothing of importance occurred during the forenoon. The enemy were evidently heavily re-enforced and appeared to be maneuvering for a favorable position from which to make an assault. The enemy's gun-boats continued to shell our position from guns throwing 9-inch shell, with, however, but slight damage, when, at about midday, I received the enemy's preparations for an assault on my right, I hastily moved the larger portion of my First Brigade from the left to the extreme right of my position, which was my weakest point. My command from the time that they entered the work in the morning had been busily engaged in strengthening make Battery Harrison an inclosed work. Before this portion of the line could be completed the enemy, at about 12.30 o'clock noon, threw himself in three lines upon my right, at the same time opening with two full batteries of field guns upon my center the left. I reserved my fire until they had emerged front he chaparral through which they advanced, when I opened a most effective fire of musketry. The enemy's furious onset had been in the meantime repulsed with musketry alone, driving him to cover, and leaving an immense number of dead and wounded in front of my right. He, however, quickly reformed, and with his accustomed yell tried the same position a second time. Finding that my ammunition was getting low, I had a few moments before sent a staff officer with an order to bring up a wagon from my ordnance train. The wagon came just at the right time, during the second assault, and was driven up to the sally-port of the fort. It was in full view and but a short musket-range from the enemy, yet Captain Brydon gallantly held his mules, three of which were shot while he was don gallantly held his mules the gallant manner in which it was executed that my command was enabled to repulse the enemy's second and his successive assaults. During the progress of this second attempt to carry our position, I received a musket-ball in the right arm, which shattered the bone above the elbow and necessitated my removal from the field and amputation on my arrival at the hospital. A moment later Captain Kent was struck by a musket-ball in the leg, incapacitating for further duty, making the fourth officer of my staff disabled during the two days operations. The record will scarcely show an instance where so small a body of men carried so strong a position as the works on Chaffin's farm, and after a loss of one man in five held their position without assistance against all attempts to dislodge them by an enemy vastly superior in numbers and nearly all composed of fresh troops. The whole number of pieces of artillery captured by my command in the works on Chaffin's farm, including Battery Harrison was 22.

                  GEO. J. STANNARD,
                  Brevet Major-General of Volunteers.

                  Comment


                  • #84
                    There are a few things to point out in General Stannard report. Remember the Aikens Landing on the James River is where the Federals erected an instantly pontoon bridge literally over the night to the great surprise of the Confederates the following morning. This strategic happening gave the Federal a quick dash upon the Confederate entrenchments and Fort Harrison before any new Confederate reinforcements would mass for a quick counterattack. Note the expected counterattack came but it was late and to the advantage of the Federals. General Stannard First Division appears to have been the leading attack formation to cross over the James River on this said pontoon. Note that two Federal regiments had been quickly issued the new modern Spencer repeat rifles and these high volume fire power trooper were made the First Division's skirmishers and flankers apparently to great effectiveness. Note also a rare incident, little seen in the Civil War, where Confederate ironclads and gunboats are in range on the James River shelling the Federal assault seemingly not very effectively. Likely there were Federal river monitors laying near the Federal pontoon bridge protecting it and perhaps returning fire upon the Confederate fleet upstream. Note also that the Federal assault almost collapsed due to the exhaustion of ammunition by the Federals at the Fort which means the fighting was intense. I have read where some the Fort's guns were turned around and fired upon the Confederates. Hurrah!

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      Please allow another posting of the Official Records report of yet another Federal Commander involved in the storming of the powerful Confederate entrenchments centered around Fort Harrison. This will be our Holiday special today and it reflects the Brigade of United States Colored Troops and demonstrates their equal valor and effectiveness as combat troops. Please compare them to the above posting of the white troops cited yesterday in the same area of combat.

                      Report of Colonel Alonzo G. Draper, Thirty-sixth U. S. Colored Troops, commanding Second Brigade, of operations September 29.1

                      GENERAL: On the morning of the 29th ultimo my brigade was massed in column in rear of the woods near Ruffin's house before day-break. We were directed to lie down and wait for further orders. After the Third Brigade had preceded us for half a mile or more I received an order to form line of columns and advance. We advanced immediately across the open field, leaving Ruffin's house on our left. On this field we received a skirmish fire from the woods. When nearly down to the ravine I received an order to move my brigade to the right, as "we were getting the worst of it there." We immediately moved by the right flank and again by the left (by the proper evolutions), and formed at the ravine, where the troops lay down in line. We were here subjected to the fire of the New Market batteries, which did little damage. After lying here about half an hour I was ordered to form my brigade into line of double columns and assault the enemy's works in front. After passing about 300 yards through young pines, always under fire, we emerged upon the open plain with shouts, losing heavily. Within twenty or thirty yards of the rebel line we found a swamp which broke the charge, as the men had to wade the run or stream and reform on the bank. At this juncture, too, the men generally commenced firing, which made so much confusion that it was impossible to make the orders understood. Our men were falling by scores. All the officers were striving constantly to get the men forward. I passed frequently from the right to the left, urging every regimental commander to rally his men around the colors and charge.
                      After half an hour of terrible suspense, by starting the yell among a few, we succeeded in getting them in motion. The entire brigade took up the shout and went over the rebel works. When we reached the palisades the rebels fell back to the woods on the side of Signal Hill. We again assaulted and drove them out. I immediately formed for defense, and sent a courier for re-enforcements, which arrived in about twenty minutes to a half hour. In this assault we had no supports. Lieutenant Samuel S. Simmons abandoned me shamefully at the ravine, and went to Deep Bottom without my knowledge. I respectfully recommend that he be dismissed for cowardice.* His true name is De Forest, and he has been once before dismissed the service. This I have lately learned from officers to whom he has confessed it. All the other officers and men of the brigade displayed the greatest courage. A few may be enumerated for particular acts; Lieutenant Colonel G. W. Shurtleff though repeatedly wounded, still strove to lead his regiment; First Lieutenant Edwin C. Gaskill rushed in front of his regiment, and, waving his sword, called on the men to follow. At this moment he was shot through the arm, within twenty yards of the enemy's works; First Lieutenant Richard F. Andrews had been two months sick with fever and was excused from duty. He volunteered, being scarcely able to walk. He rode to the thicket, dismounted, and charged to the swamp, where he was shot through the leg; First Lieutenant James B. Backup excused from duty for lameness, one leg being partially shrunk so that he could walk but short distances, volunteered, hobbled in as far as the swamp, and was shot through the breast; Lieutenant Bancroft was shot in the hip at the swamp. He crawled forward on his hands and knees, waving his sword and calling on the men to follow.

                      Comment


                      • #86
                        Here lays the final part of Colonel Draper's gripping official record report:

                        When the brigade were making their final charge, a rebel officer leaped upon the parapet, waved his sword and shouted, "Hurrah, my brave men." Private James Gardiner, Thirty-sixth U. S. Colored Troops, rushed in advance of the brigade, shot him, and then ran the bayonet through his body to the muzzle. Many sergeants of the Thirty-sixth distinguished themselves in urging on the men, but I have not their names. The brigade numbered about 1,300 effective men when it made the assault. We lost here 13 commissioned officers and 434 enlisted men, at the lowest estimate. Went in with thirty-two line officers and lost 11. At Laurel Hill the loss of the Fifth U. S. Colored Troops increased the figures to 16 officers and 537 enlisted men. Another staff officer, my inspector-general, wounded next day, makes a loss of 17 officers.


                        A. G. DRAPER,
                        Colonel Thirty-sixth U. S. Colored Troops.

                        Comment


                        • #87
                          I now would like to return to Historian James Price short article I had cited above for a couple of small presentations.

                          Petersburg Campaign, North of the James River, July-October 1864

                          "Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant sought to regain momentum by authorizing a bridgehead north of the James River that would allow simultaneous pushes against Richmond and Petersburg. The crossing would be at Deep Bottom, 11 miles southeast of Richmond at a horseshoe bend in the river known as Jones Neck. Battles fought from July through October 1864 in this nearly forgotten sector saw a combined loss of approximately 15,000 men, four generals killed in action and the first Medals of Honor issued to black soldiers in U.S. history."

                          "Lee organized two major counterthrusts to retake the ground. More than 10,000 reinforcements crossed the James to retake Fort Harrison on the morning of September 30, but the Federals easily fended off the piecemeal attack. The next attempt came on October 7, with Lee once again in the field. The Gray Fox sent two divisions on a flanking maneuver, which pushed down the Darbytown Road and drove back the Federal cavalry. An ill-advised attack upon an entrenched position, however, resulted in a bloody repulse that claimed the life of Brig. Gen. John Gregg of the Texas Brigade. Lee was so discouraged that he allegedly told a member of his staff that : "all that is left for us is to make peace on the best terms we can."

                          Comment


                          • #88
                            Now we come to a point to an issue I have been building up to and it seemingly has a strong basis for speculation on my part. Upon the Army of James two Corps assault that shattered the Confederates entrenchments and captured Fort Harrison, plus the subsequent repeated failure of Bobby Lee to recover the Fort, may we now speculate that CSA Commander Bobby Lee and most of his Army have now suffered a serious breakdown in morale, from which it was not to overcome. Indeed, the historical record confirms the Confederate Army was not to have any more serious offensive operations designed to shore up the supposedly impenetrable fortress lines of Petersburg and Richmond, since the failed Bobby Lee counterattack of 10/07//1864. That counterattack constituted a second attempt to restore the entrenchment system that was based upon Fort Harrison just south of Richmond. Immediately after that defeat, Bobby Lee supposedly told his Staff: "all that is left for us is to make peace on the best terms we can."

                            This leads me to speculate that Bobby Lee left this battlefield, on 10/07/1864, rode the short distance to Richmond, whereupon he had to appeal to Jeff Davis to enter peace talks to end the War. Naturally, Bobby Lee was comforted and made convinced that another way was more practical and thus we heard nothing of it on the record. If I recall correctly, that after the disaster of Gettysburg, Bobby Lee somewhat had the same reaction, in that he made offer to resign while in mild stage of a nervous breakdown. Thus, it may be meaningful to claim that the Army of James had fatally crippled the fighting morale of Bobby Lee and his Army, in the Fall of 1864, which setup the self-destructive process chosen by Bobby Lee and the Confederates, in early 1865. I am not taking away the important gains made by the Army of the Potomac before the Petersburg line. But it seems very plausible that the Army of the James has an equal level of importance and perhaps had the pivotal event making the end of the illegal Confederate Nation at hand.

                            Comment


                            • #89
                              I would certainly agree with your point about rebel morale. Desertions during the latter months of the war zoomed. In part because of the actions of Grant, but also the occupation of the Shenandoah Valley, and Sherman's march to the sea. For many, that combination of factors made being home much more important than continuing to serve "the cause."

                              Regards,
                              Dennis
                              If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

                              Shouting out to Half Pint for bringing back the big mugs!

                              Comment


                              • #90
                                Originally posted by D1J1 View Post
                                I would certainly agree with your point about rebel morale. Desertions during the latter months of the war zoomed. In part because of the actions of Grant, but also the occupation of the Shenandoah Valley, and Sherman's march to the sea. For many, that combination of factors made being home much more important than continuing to serve "the cause."

                                Regards,
                                Dennis
                                How much was due to the sense that the Confederacy was seen to be doomed and no longer posed an existentialist threat to the Union? Why risk getting killed or maimed when the end appeared inevitable and nearing anyway?
                                Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                                Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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