The First Battle of Deep Bottom: July 28, 1864:
Confederate Infantry Attack Repelled by Union Cavalry Repeaters
Note: Click to see maps of the First Battle of Deep Bottom, which should help you follow along with the action.
Brief Summary: While the first day of the First Battle of Deep Bottom on July 27, 1864 had been primarily an infantry fight, day two on July 28 saw Confederate infantry battle Yankee cavalry. Sheridan’s two cavalry divisions had been placed on the right of the Second Corps line, and Grant planned to use at least one of them offensively. Torbert’s division would continue to cover the Union infantry’s left, while Gregg’s division utilized a little used country road to attempt to get beyond the Confederate left. The Confederates had their own plan in mind. Joseph B. Kershaw, commanding the combined Confederate forces, gathered four understrength Confederate infantry brigades, Lane, McGowan, Wofford and Kershaw’s own former brigade under Connor, to attack the Union right. Gregg’s cavalry unexpectedly ran into this force. The initial Confederate attack managed to capture one Union artillery piece when a battery was abandoned by its supporting cavalry. The heavy firepower of Union repeaters began to tell, however, and the Confederate infantry were routed, losing 200 men captured. Previously unpublished reports from three regiments of Lane’s Brigade, the 28th North Carolina, the 33rd North Carolina, and the 37th North Carolina, have been published at The Siege of Petersburg Online. Click the links above to read them.
The two days of fighting managed to pull all but three Confederate divisions north of the Appomattox River, leaving those three to defend Petersburg. Grant’s “demonstration” did not come close to achieving its main goals, but it definitely created a situation south of the Appomattox River which might be exploited after the mine explosion…which was coming in two short days.
To Learn More, Read the Following:
- The Petersburg Campaign: The Battle of the Crater “the Horrid Pit” June 25-August 6, 1864 by Michael Arthur Cavanaugh: This H. E. Howard book also has a lot of good material on First Deep Bottom.
- “Glory Denied; the First Battle of Deep Bottom,” North & South Magazine, vol. 3, no. 7, pp. 17-32
- .…and coming in the Fall of 2014, Jimmy Price is penning a book for The History Press which will focus exclusively on First Deep Bottom, the first book ever to do so.
Best Posts Freely Available on this site:
- The First Battle of Deep Bottom: July 27-29 by Dan O’Connell
- NP: July 30, 1864 Philadelphia Inquirer: A Battle on the James
- NP: August 16, 1864 Batavia (NY) Republican Advocate: More on The First Deep Bottom Operation
- NP: August 16, 1864 Batavia (NY) Republican Advocate: The First Deep Bottom Operation
- NP: August 27, 1864 Quincy Patriot: 24th Massachusetts Itinerary
- NP: July 30, 1864 New York Herald: Mr. Finley Anderson’s Dispatch
- NP: July 30, 1864 New York Herald: Mr. S. Cadwallader’s Dispatch
- NP: August 1, 1864 New York Tribune: The Operations of Wednesday
- UPR: Report of Captain W. J. Callais, 33rd North Carolina, Lane’s Brigade, of operations July 28, 1864
- UPR: Report of LtCol William H. A. Speer, 28th North Carolina, Lane’s Brigade, of operations July 28, 1864
- UPR: Report of Major Jackson L. Bost, 37th North Carolina, Lane’s Brigade, of operations July 28, 1864
If you have other resources you’ve found useful, feel free to post them in the comments section.