February 22, 1865
Gen. Robert E. Lee, CSA, laid optional plans to retreat to Burkeville, VA, and unite with the Confederate forces in North Carolina if he was forced to leave his defensive position around Petersburg and Richmond, VA.
General George G. Meade receives a telegram announcing the death of his son the day before, on February 21. Grant allows Meade to take a short leave to be with his family in their grief.
Major General John Parke assumes temporary command of the Army of the Potomac in Meade’s absence.
Brevet Major General Robert Potter assumes temporary command of Union Ninth Corps.
Another salute along the Union lines is ordered to celebrate the reoccupation of Fort Sumter by Union forces, nearly four years after the start of the Civil War.
Fifth Corps division commanders Crawford and Ayres also turn down command of Gregg’s former cavalry division. Meade next recommends Army of the James Cavalry division commander August Kautz to the command.
The Confederates are reported to have finished rebuilding the Weldon Railroad, wrecked during Warren’s Applejack Raid in December 1864, back north to Stony Creek, with W. H. F. “Rooney” Lee’s Cavalry division moving north from Belfield to the new terminus of the railroad.
Union Second Corps commander Major General Andrew A. Humphreys is ordered back to the Siege of Petersburg immediately, cutting his leave short.
Artillery duel between Confederate batteries at Chesterfield, Goose Neck, and their mortar batteries with Union Battery Number 5. Battery 5, Battery 9, and Fort McGilvery replied. Battery Number 5 had fired at a train on the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad, prompting the exchange.
Major General Edward O. C. Ord is ordered to return to the Siege of Petersburg from Fort Monroe immediately.
Confederate Battery Dantzler fires on the Union obstructions in Trent’s Reach on the James River shortly after 1 pm.
General Lee reminds his soldiers they are outnumbered, but have better quality troops than the enemy. He asks his soldiers to pay attention to their discipline daily in order to make the odds as close to even as possible in the coming fight.
General Robert E. Lee discusses the possibility of a retreat becoming necessary with Lieutenant General James Longstreet, indicating the Confederate forces defending Richmond and Petersburg would need to retreat to Burkeville, Virginia to the west.
Note: All “Today In The Petersburg Campaign” blog entries are used with permission from Ronald A. Mosocco’s Chronological Tracking of the American Civil War per the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion. Order the book HERE.
Copyright © 1993, 1994 by Ronald A. Mosocco