The Second Battle of Deep Bottom: August 18, 1864:
Lee Counterattacks 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: On August 18, 1864, as Gouverneur Warren’s Fifth Corps was taking the Weldon Railroad at Globe Tavern and preparing for massive Confederate counterattacks south of Petersburg, General Lee was himself in command of Confederate forces north of the James River at Fussell’s Mill, intent on sending cavalry around Winfield Hancock’s right flank. Once Hancock became aware of the threat and retreated, Lee would deliver an infantry assault at Fussell’s Mill in an attempt to cut Hancock off from the James River and deal him a severe blow.
The day did not go according to plan, and an 11 am assault turned into a belated and feeble attack at 5 pm. Lee’s troops never even reached Hancock’s main line. Wade Hampton’s cavalry, directed to penetrate Hancock’s rear on the Charles City Road, was blocked by Gregg’s cavalry as well.
Once Lee learned of Warren’s attacks at Petersburg, his attention, and many of the troops then north of the James near Fussell’s Mill, were moved south to combat a new threat. This one had the potential to cut the Southerners off from supplies via the Weldon Railroad, one of only a few remaining supply lines they possessed into Richmond and Petersburg.
After a few more days in position, Hancock withdrew his forces on August 20, and the northern wing of Grant’s Fourth Offensive had ended. As a diversion, the Second Deep Bottom Campaign is at least a partial success. If you consider Hancock’s goals upon setting out on the evening of august 13, however, it must be deemed a complete failure.
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 “Nothing But 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.
- Suderow, Bryce. “Nothing But a Miracle Could Save Us: Second Battle of Deep Bottom, Virginia, August 14-20, 1864.” North & South, Volume 4, Number 2, 2001: 12-32. Print.
- Manarin, Louis H. Henrico County Field of Honor, Volume II. Richmond: Carter Printing Company, 2004: 443-565. Print.