August 18

This Day in History

Civil War

Aug 18, 1864:

Union attacks railroad at Globe Tavern

Union General Ulysses S. Grant tries to cut a vital Confederate lifeline into Petersburg, Virginia, with an attack on the Weldon Railroad at Globe Tavern in Virginia. Although the Yankees succeeded in capturing a section of the line, the Confederates simply used wagons to bring supplies from the railhead into the city.

Grant's spring campaign against General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia ended at Petersburg, 20 miles south of Richmond. In June, Grant ceased frontal assaults, and the two armies settled into trenches for a siege. Grant sought to break the stalemate by severing the Weldon and Petersburg Railroad, which ran south to Weldon, North Carolina. The line was one of two that now supplied Lee's army from other points in the South. Grant's first attack, on June 22, failed.

Now Grant attacked with General Gouvernor K. Warren's corps at the Globe Tavern. On August 18, Warren's men succeeded in capturing part of the line. In a battle that raged for the next five days, the Confederates tried to recapture the line, but the Yankees remained in control of a short section around the tavern.

Despite control over this area, the Union did not prevent the Weldon line from supplying Lee's army. The Confederates simply stopped their trains one day south of Petersburg and used wagons to haul the cargo around the break. On August 25, a Confederate offensive would return control of the railroad to the Rebels; but nearly four months later, Grant would finally succeed in destroying the railroad.

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