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150 Years Ago Today: Battle of Globe Tavern: August 21, 1864

The Battle of Globe Tavern: August 21, 1864:

Hagood’s Brigade is Decimated

Note: Click to see maps of the Battle of Globe Tavern, which should help you follow along with the action.

Brief Summary: After a day of heavy rain on August 20, 1864, which prevented any fighting, A. P. Hill tried one more time to remove the large two corps Federal presence on the Weldon Railroad near Globe Tavern.  Heth’s Division would attack from the north for the third time in four days.  Mahone would try another flank attack, this time against the Federal left rather than the right, which had been solidified after the fighting on August 19.

However, Warren had been busy on the Northern side shortening and strengthening his lines. He pulled back closer to Globe Tavern, and also built a north-south line of entrenchments west of the Weldon Railroad to protect his left flank.


Confederate Attacks on August 21, 1864

Heth attacked with three brigades (MacRae, Ransom, Kirkland) from the north, but the stronger Federal lines had no gaps and massive artillery support.  The result was a bloody repulse which never even reached the Union earthworks.

Mahone, meanwhile, had a force composed of troops from various divisions, organized into a large ad hoc division under his direct command.  Mahone thought the Union left ended just west of the Weldon Railroad, and he planned to assault frontally with six brigades (Harris, Finegan, Wright, Sanders, Thomas, Scales) while a seventh, Hagood, moved to the south and then came in behind the Federal flank.  The problem was that what Mahone thought was the Union flank was simply a large salient which changed the east-west line to a north-south line of trenches very abruptly.

Hagood, rather than attacking a vulnerable flank, marched into a trap where his brigade was being fired upon from three sides (front, left, and rear).  Only quick action by Hagood himself prevented the capture of the majority of his brigade.  There are several good depictions of this attack in the links below.  Hagood’s men were in part facing the old Iron Brigade of early war fame.  While they were a pale shadow of their former selves, they gave a good account on this day.

This repulse did not yet resign the Confederates that the Weldon Railroad was fully lost.  In the coming days, Hancock’s Union Second Corps, fresh off of the Second Deep Bottom ampaign, was sent to Reams Station several miles to the south of Globe Tavern on the Weldon Railroad, where it was instructed to tear up even more of the railroad.  The Confederate response was predictably fierce, but that story will have to wait a few more days…

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