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The Fight for the Weldon Railroad | American Battlefield Trust


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The Fight for the Weldon Railroad | American Battlefield Trust

August 18-21, 1864

A. Wilson Greene

Grant's Fourth Offensive

The Weldon Railroad connected Richmond to the South's last Atlantic port in Wilmington, North Carolina.  On August 18, 1864, the Union captured the Weldon railroad.

 The stupendous failure on July 30, 1864, of General Grant’s Third Offensive at the Battle of the Crater convinced Ulysses S. Grant that isolating Petersburg remained the only way to win the campaign. His first target remained the Weldon Railroad, which he had failed to capture in June. At 4:00 a.m. on August 18, Grant sent his Fifth Corps under General Gouverneur K. Warren westward with orders to destroy a section of the railroad and hold it if he could.

The first troops to reach the tracks arrived around 9:00 a.m. The Yankees slowly moved northward, leaving heated rails twisted in the shape of the Maltese Cross (the Fifth Corps’ insignia) in their wake. When they reached the point near the intersection of the Halifax and Vaughan roads, they met fire from a small Confederate battery.

 In a pouring rain the Federals scattered the Rebel gunners and deployed across the tracks near a small house belonging to the Davis family. Between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m., gunfire erupted in the thick woods all around you as three Confederate brigades led by General Henry Heth pounded southward against Warren’s men.:snip: 

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Draggingtree

Today in History

1877 · Last Troops Leave

In 1877, the last of the troops that were occupying North Carolina left.

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