June 21-23 1864: First Battle of Weldon Railroad


With the War in the East now centering on the siege of Petersburg, Lee faced the daunting problem of protecting the rail lines that kept Petersburg, Richmond and his army supplied.  It took no military genius to realize that if the Union captured those rail lines, Lee’s position would be rendered untenable.  So that is what Grant promptly commenced to do.  The II and VI Corps were tasked with seizing, and destroying as much of the Weldon Railroad as they could take.

Skirmishing occurred on June 21 as the II Corps probed toward the rail line.   On June 22 both the II and the VI corps advanced towards the railroad, with rugged terrain causing a gap to open up between the corps.  Confederate Brigadier General William Mahone concealed his division in a ravine and launched an attack on the rear of the II Corps which wreaked havoc until the lines stabilized by nightfall.

In fighting on June 23 the Union seized and destroyed a small part of the railroad before being beaten off by Confederate counterattacks.  The fighting over the three days had produced Union casualties of 2962 to Confederate casualties of 572.  The Confederates held the rail line, at the cost of extending their trench line and making their lines thinner.  Grant would make further moves to the south and west throughout the siege as he forced the smaller Confederate army to man ever lengthening lines.

Published in: on June 21, 2022 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on June 21-23 1864: First Battle of Weldon Railroad  
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