Williamsburg Civil War Roundtable

The purpose of this organization shall be to promote discussion and study of the Civil War and to further stimulate interest in all aspects and phases of the Civil War period.

Meeting Dates

The organization meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month September through May. Meetings are held in the Williamsburg Regional Library Theatre located at 515 Scotland St in Williamsburg, VA, unless otherwise posted. The meetings begin at 7 PM. Membership is open to the  general public.

This Month's Speaker

Join us for the next meeting of the Williamsburg Civil War Roundtable at the Williamsburg Public Library Theatre at 7 PM on Tuesday, January 23, 2018.

On Tuesday, January 23, 2018, Chris Bryce will present Grant’s crossing of the James River and the defense of Petersburg June-July 1864.
 
On June 12, 1864, General Ulysses S. Grant, secretly withdrew the Army of the Potomac from its position's in front of Cold Harbor. From there he and over 100,000 men of the army would embark on one of the more impressive turning movements of the war. Two days later after some hard marching and superb logistical work, the Federals began crossing the James River. Once across the river Grant set his sights on the vital transportation hub of Petersburg. Defended by roughly 4,600 Confederate troops under the command of General P.G.T. Beauregard, could Petersburg hold out until reinforcements arrived from General Robert E. Lee who was in the dark about the whereabouts of Grant's army?

For three days, June 15-18 Grant’s forces pressed the Confederate defenders to the point of breaking, but the southern troops held on and inflicted staggering losses upon the Union attackers with one regiment suffering the highest regimental single battle loss of the entire war.   By the end of June with an infusion of Lee’s forces from Richmond the battle lines around Petersburg began to stabilize.
 
In an effort to break the Confederate line Union troops from Pennsylvania devised a plan to tunnel underneath the Petersburg defenses and pack the tunnel with explosives to rupture Lee’s line and enter Petersburg.  Would this plan lead to the capture of Petersburg in July 1864 or would it be another example of “Wasted Valor” that had been witnessed in front of Petersburg before?

Chris Bryce, is the Assistant to the Superintendent/Public Affairs, Petersburg National Battlefield. Chris holds a bachelors degree in History with a concentration in 18th and 19th American military history and 20th century European military history from East Tennessee State University.  He resides with his family in Williamsburg, VA.

 

Visit the Williamsburg Battlefield Association (view newsletter)
(http://www.williamsburgbattlefieldassociation.org/)
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