Friday, June 20, 2014

June 20, 1864: Digging in at Petersburg

On this day 150 years ago, both sides were busy digging in at Petersburg as the siege got underway in earnest.

Lieutenant-General GRANT:

No reporting indicating anything but quiet along the lines have been this morning received. Major Forsyth, Eighth Illinois Cavalry, arrived last night with dispatches from General Sheridan, the duplicate of those sent by telegraph from Yorktown. Major Forsyth has been directed to await the orders of the lieutenant-general commanding. Orders have been sent to General Sheridan to await further instructions at the White House. Your attention was called last evening to the reported position of General Hunter, ten miles south west of Lynchburg. This renders the probability of his reaching the White House very remote, and it becomes a question of how long that post should be retained after Sheridan leaves it. It will be maintained so far as my orders until otherwise instructed. I propose to-night to hold my present lines with the Sixth, Ninth, and Fifth Corps, and keep the Second in reserve. I have reason to believe from prisoners and contrabands that Beauregard has been re-enforced by two divisions of Hill's corps, Wilcox's and Anderson's, and possibly others. The enemy's line is continued as far beyond my left flank as I have been able to reconnoiter, and they are busily occupied strengthening it. I do not propose making any movement to-day. If you will be at home this morning I will ride down to see you.


CITY POINT, VA., June 20, 1864.

Major-General MEADE,

Commanding, &c.:

In view of the location of General Hunter, as reported in the rebel papers, and the fact that General Sheridan cannot carry supplies with him from the White House to make an effective raid against the enemy's communications north of the James, you may direct his immediate return to the Army of the Potomac. The manner of returning and route is left to you. Direct the commanding officer at White House to break up that post and sent his Veteran Reserve troops back to Washington, bringing all the balance to City Point; this latter to take place on the departure of General Sheridan.



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