"We Have Done All That is Possible and Must be Resigned: The First Petersburg Offensive," Will Greene

Sep 1 2020 - 7:00pm

Please be advised that due to the Coronovirus pandemic, we will not be holding our regular September meeting at Ft. Caswell. This meeting will be done over Zoom. Further details to follow:  


The Overland Campaign in the spring of 1864 brought the armies of Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant from the Rapidan River to the outskirts of Richmond in exactly one month.  But at Cold Harbor, Grant's campaign stalled.  Running out of room to maneuver around Lee's right flank, Grant made the bold decision to transfer his army south of the James River and target Petersburg, the supply and logistics center for Lee and the Confederate capital.  The story of Grant's movement to and across the James and his subsequent attack against Petersburg is a tale twice told.  The incredibly complex mission of secretly moving a massive army across some 50 miles of Virginia landscape and crossing a 2000-foot-wide river proved to be a remarkable success.  The subsequent four-day offensive against a woefully outnumbered Rebel army turned out to be a remarkable failure.  Will Greene's talk will examine the generalship of Lee and Grant from June 4 through June 18, review the bloody combat that left 16,000 casualties in its wake, and draw some conclusions regarding one of the more controversial chapters of Virginia's Civil War history.