Hatcher’s Run (February 7, 1865)

Alfred Waud sketched the fighting on February 7. On the back, he wrote, "The 1st Div 5th Corps charging some temporary breastworks of logs piled against trees on the morning of Tuesday 7th Feb. Thick pine woods. The ground smooth and covered with fine leaves. A.R.W. Near Hatchers Run." Click to enlarge (Library of Congress).

Alfred Waud made this sketch of the fighting on February 7. On the back, he wrote, “The 1st Div 5th Corps charging some temporary breastworks of logs piled against trees on the morning of Tuesday 7th Feb. Thick pine woods. The ground smooth and covered with fine leaves. A.R.W. Near Hatchers Run.” Click to enlarge (Library of Congress).

George Meade writes home about the Battle of Hatcher’s Run, yet another attempt to force Robert E. Lee to extend his lines around Petersburg to the breaking point. The operation began on February 5, with cavalry moving out in advance of the V Corps (Gouverneur Warren commanding) and the II (under Andrew A. Humphreys). Although not able to sever the Boydton Plank Road, an important Confederate supply line, the Union offensive did weaken the rebel defenses. “Although no man could tell what the next two months would bring forth, yet it was evident that the end was near for the capture of Petersburg,” wrote William Henry Powell in his 1896 history of the V Corps. “The continued extension of the Union lines to the left was very threatening to the only remaining railroad line of communication of the Confederate army directly with the South, and General Grant feared, from indications, that General Lee would abandon his Petersburg and Richmond intrenchments and endeavor to unite with Johnston’s army, then in front of Sherman, before he (Grant) was quite ready for the pursuit, Sheridan still being in the Shenandoah Valley. In preparing, therefore, for a contemplated pursuit, General Sheridan was summoned to Petersburg with his command.”

I have not written you for several days, owing to being very much occupied with military operations. Day before yesterday to prove war existed, whatever might be the discussions about peace, I moved a portion of my army out to the left. The first day the enemy attacked Humphreys, who handsomely repulsed him. The next day (yesterday) Warren attacked the enemy, and after being successful all day, he was towards evening checked and finally compelled to retrace his steps in great disorder. This morning, notwithstanding it was storming violently, Warren went at them again, and succeeded in recovering most of the ground occupied and lost yesterday. The result on the whole has been favorable to our side, and we have extended our lines some three miles to the left. The losses have not been so great as in many previous engagements, and I hear of but few officers killed or severely wounded.

I have been in the saddle each day from early in the morning till near midnight, and was too much exhausted to write.

Colonel Lyman sent me a box, which he said contained books and pickles. I find, on opening it, that there are about a dozen nice books and a box of champagne; so you can tell dear Sergeant he is not the only one that gets good things.

Meade’s correspondence taken from The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Major-General United States Army, Vol. 2, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1913), p. 261. Available via Google Books.

paperback scanThe paperback edition of Searching for George Gordon Meade: The Forgotten Victor of Gettysburg is now available! You can purchase it through Stackpole Books, Amazon or Barnes and Noble. And don’t forget the 2015 George Meade seminar on February 15. Click here for more details.

Advertisements
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: