Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Battle of Globe Tavern

Globe Tavern
By August, 1864 the armies of Lee and Grant were stalled in front of Petersburg, the active campaigning turned into a regular siege. Grant and Meade's strategy to break this deadlock was to hit Lee's supply line. They hoped that if they cut off the flow of food and weapons coming through North Carolina, Richmond and Petersburg would have to be abandoned. One of the major supply lines was the Weldon Railroad. In the Battle of Jerusalem Plank Road in late June Federals had destroyed a short section of the Weldon, but they were quickly driven off by the Confederates. In August Grant sent out another force against the Weldon under Major General Gouverneur Warren.
On August 18th Warren reached the railroad at Globe Tavern without meeting any resistance outside of a few pickets. While some troops began tearing up the tracks the rest formed a battle line and moved north to guard against a Confederate attack. When A. P. Hill heard of the Federal advance he sent three brigades out to meet them. At 2 pm they struck Warren's line and drove it back early to Globe Tavern. The Federals counterattacked and recaptured some ground before halting and entrenching for the night.
During the night significant reinforcements arrived for both sides. The next day was rainy, and for most of it the fighting was limited to minor skirmishing. But that changed in late afternoon. Maj. Gen. William Mahone, commanding the three infantry brigades the Confederates had received, had found a weak spot in the Federal right. When his men changed it, they were able to easily burst through into the Federal flank and rear. The Federals were under fire from several directions, and soon panicked and fled to the rear. Mahone's men captured nearly two full Union brigades. Although the Federal right crumbled, the center and right beat off the Confederate frontal attacks, and Union reinforcements arrived to stabilize the position.
The next day rain prevented further Confederate attacks, and that night Warren fell back two miles to a new entrenched position. There he was still on the Weldon Railroad, but his would were connected with the rest of the Union line. The Confederates advanced and attacked on the morning of August 21, but they were repulsed with heavy losses. With this the Confederates halted their attacks, resigned to the fact that the Weldon Railroad would remain in Union hands. The Confederate supply lines were disturbed, but not cut. They bypassed the Federal held section by hauling supplies in wagons on a series of roads.


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