The Second Battle of Deep Bottom: August 15, 1864:
Union Tenth Corps Shifts to the Right at Fussell’s Mill
Note: Click to see maps of the Second Battle of Deep Bottom, which should help you follow along with the action.
Brief Summary: The initial fighting on August 14 along New Market Heights (X Corps vs. Field) and southwest of Fussell’s Mill (II Corps vs. Gary’s Cavalry Brigade and Anderson’s GA Brigade) resulted in a Union halt far earlier than Federal commander Winfield Scott Hancock had planned. In an effort to make some headway and spring the Union cavalry free, Hancock was instructed by General Grant to shift the X Corps from west of Four Mile Creek and facing north against New Market Heights, over to the right of II Corps east of Bailey’s Creek.
Once in position, the X Corps would attack the Confederate lines just north of Fussell’s Mill and attempt to turn their left flank. This movement took most of the day on August 15, longer than Hancock had planned for. The delays were attributable to the extreme heat and the decision by Tenth Corps commander David Birney to have his brother William Birney’s trailing division pass by Terry’s leading division at Strawberry Plains and then lead the march to Fussell’s Mill.
By the time David Birney’s Tenth Corps reached his assigned jump off point, he had lost a third of his men to the heat. To make matters worse, a Rooney Lee’s cavalry division had reached the Confederae left flank on Charles City Road from Petersburg, where it drove back Gregg’s cavalry protecting the Union right. William Birney detached an infantry brigade from his division to neutralize this threat to the rear. He also sent a white brigade and a black regiment to turn the Confederate infantry’s left north of Fussell’s Mill. These Union troops not only didn’t attack, but fired into each other mistakenly. These and other concerns meant the attack planned for August 15 would have to wait until August 16.
To Learn More, Read the Following:
- The Petersburg Campaign: The Destruction of The Weldon Railroad: Deep Bottom, Globe Tavern, and Reams Station: August 14-25, 1864 by John Horn
- Henrico County Field of Honor, Volume 2 by Louis H. Manarin (scarce and expensive, scroll down after you click this link and buy from the Henrico County Historical Society for $90 for the two-volume set, cheaper than used.)
- Bryce Suderow’s North & South Magazine Article on Second Deep Bottom: North and South Volume 4, Number 2, entitled “Only a Miracle Can Save Us”
Best Posts Freely Available on this site:
- 864hab: Union Forces Battle of Deep Bottom 13-20 August 1864
- Confederate Army Strength at Second Deep Bottom by Bryce Suderow
- NP: April 15, 1907 Charleston (SC) News and Courier: The Truth About the Battle of the Crater (64th GA) (contains a reminiscence of Brig. Gen. Girardey’s death about half way through the Crater discussion, worth a read but tough to find.)
- NP: August 26, 1864 Augusta (GA) Daily Constitutionalist: Letter from Anderson’s Brigade
- NP: October 20, 1869 Washington (PA) Reporter: 140th Pennsylvania at the Siege of Petersburg, Part 4
- NP: October 27, 1869 Washington PA Reporter: 140th Pennsylvania at the Siege of Petersburg, Part 5
- NP: September 10, 1864 Anglo-African: From the 29th Connecticut Regiment
- NP: September 2, 1864 Richmond Examiner: Battle of Fussell’s Mill
- The Second Battle of Deep Bottom CWPT Map
- UPR: Report of Captain Edward F. Lovill, 28th North Carolina, Lane’s Brigade, of operations August 18, 1864
- UPR: Report of Captain James A. Summers, 33rd North Carolina, Lane’s Brigade, of operations August 18, 1864
- UPR: Report of Captain James G. Harris, 7th North Carolina, Lane’s Brigade, of operations August 18, 1864
- UPR: Report of LtCol John W. McGill, 18th North Carolina, Lane’s Brigade, of operations August 18, 1864
- UPR: Report of Major Jackson L. Bost, 37th North Carolina, Lane’s Brigade, of operations August 18, 1864
If you have other resources you’ve found useful, feel free to post them in the comments section.