Other Names: Petersburg
Location: City of Petersburg
Campaign: Appomattox Campaign (March-April 1865)
Date(s): April 2, 1865
Principal Commanders: Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant [US]; Gen. Robert E. Lee [CS]
Forces Engaged: Armies
Estimated Casualties: 7,750 total (US 3,500; CS 4,250)
Description: With Confederate defeat at Five Forks on April 1, Grant and Meade ordered a general assault against the Petersburg lines by II, IX, VI and XXIV Corps on April 2. A heroic defense of Fort Gregg by a handful of Confederates prevented the Federals from entering the city that night. Lt. Gen. A.P. Hill was killed trying to reach his troops in the confusion. After dark, Lee ordered the evacuation of Petersburg and Richmond. Grant had achieved one of the major military objectives of the war: the capture of Petersburg, which led to the fall of Richmond, the Capitol of the Confederacy.
Result(s): Union victory
CWSAC Reference #: VA089
Preservation Priority: I.1 (Class A)
Despite the recent setback at Cold Harbor, General Grant places pressure on Petersburg, Virginia, to the south of Richmond. The "Siege" of Petersburg (not really a traditional siege because it doesn't surround and cut off the city's supply lines), lasts nine months and results in extended trench warfare. Grant repeatedly attacks the Confederate supply lines between Petersburg and Richmond, forcing General Lee to overextend his men and supplies. Finally, Lee is forced to withdraw, and the cities of Petersburg and Richmond surrender on April 3, 1865, while Jefferson Davis and his cabinet are forced to flee. With the loss of the Confederacy's capital city, the end of the war seems imminent. Aside from its role in bringing the Civil War toward an end, the Siege of Petersburg is remembered for its extensive trench warfare and high casualties, which resembled the trench warfare of World War I.