On this day, Union General Ulysses S. Grant stretches his lines further around Petersburg, Virginia, accompanied by his commander-in-chief, Abraham Lincoln. After six weeks of heavy fighting between his Army of the Potomac and Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in a series of battles around Richmond, Grant chose a different strategy. Now south of Richmond, outside of Petersburg, he was no longer willing to wage the destructive open-field battles that had lost so many lives.
Grant was content to starve out Lee and his men. After the disastrous attack at Cold Harbor, he pulled further south in an attempt to sever Confederate supply lines at the rail center at Petersburg. On June 21, Grant moved closer to a siege when he sent his Second and Sixth Corps to extend the left flank of his position. The goal was to take control of the Weldon Railroad, which ran into Petersburg from the south, and run the Union line to the Appomattox River. This would complete a semicircle around the city and effectively bottle Petersburg and Richmond. The Confederates, however, halted this attempt the next day and saved a vital lifeline into Petersburg.