The General Robert E. Lee's Retreat Driving Tour : Petersburg to Appomattox, Virginia

Buckeye Bill

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#1
The Appomattox Campaign (Lee's Retreat) was a series of American Civil War battles fought March 29 – April 9, 1865 in Virginia that concluded with the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia to the Union Army (Army of the Potomac, Army of the James and Army of the Shenandoah) under the overall command of Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant. In the following eleven weeks after Lee's surrender, the American Civil War ended as other Confederate armies surrendered and Confederate government leaders were captured or fled the country.

As the Richmond–Petersburg Campaign (also known as the Siege of Petersburg) ended, Lee's army was outnumbered and exhausted from a winter of trench warfare over an approximately 40 miles front, numerous battles, disease, hunger and desertion. Grant's well-equipped and well-fed army was growing in strength. On March 29, 1865, the Union Army began an offensive that stretched and broke the Confederate defenses southwest of Petersburg and cut their supply lines to Petersburg and the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. Union victories at the Battle of Five Forks on April 1, 1865 and the Third Battle of Petersburg, often called the Breakthrough at Petersburg, on April 2, 1865, opened Petersburg and Richmond to imminent capture. Lee ordered the evacuation of Confederate forces from both Petersburg and Richmond on the night of April 2–3 before Grant's army could cut off any escape. Confederate government leaders also fled west from Richmond that night.

The Confederates marched west, heading toward Danville, Virginia or Lynchburg, Virginia as an alternative. Lee planned to resupply his army at one of those cities and march southwest into North Carolina where he could unite his army with the Confederate army commanded by General Joseph E. Johnston. Grant's Union Army pursued Lee's fleeing Confederates relentlessly. During the next week, the Union troops fought a series of battles with Confederate units, cut off or destroyed Confederate supplies and blocked their paths to the south and ultimately to the west. On April 6, 1865, the Confederate Army suffered a significant defeat at the Battle of Sailor's Creek, Virginia, where they lost about 7,700 men killed and captured and an unknown number wounded. Nonetheless, Lee continued to move the remainder of his battered army to the west. Soon cornered, short of food and supplies and outnumbered, Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Grant on April 9, 1865 at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.

* Confederate General Robert Edward Lee.

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* Lee's Retreat Map (Petersburg to Appomattox, Virginia).

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* The Battle of Fort Stedman (Seige of Petersburg) : March 25th, 1865.

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* The Battle of Lewis' Farm : March 29th, 1865.

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* The Battle of White Oak Road : March 31st, 1865.

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* The Battle of Five Forks : April 1st, 1865.

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* The South Side Train Station in Old Petersburg (Lee's Retreat Starts Here).

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* The Battle of Sutherland's Station : April 2nd, 1865.

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* The Battle of Nazomine Church : April 4th, 1865.

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* Amelia Court House (Lee's Two Armies Meeting Spot).

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* Jetersville (Federal Cavalry Deflects Lee's Army to the West).

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* Amelia Springs (Federal and Confederate Cavalry and Troopers Clash).

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* Deatonville (Lee's Army passes through being chased by Federal Cavalry).

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* Holt's Corner Store.

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* The Battle of Sailor's/Sayler's Creek : April 6th, 1865 (The Hillsman House).

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* Battle of High Bridge : April 6 - 7th, 1865.

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* Photos Courtesy of William Bechmann (2016).
 

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Buckeye Bill

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#2
* The Battle of Cumberland Church : April 7th, 1865.

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* New Store

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* Lee's Rearguard (Just North of Appomattox).

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* The Battle of Appomattox Train Station : April 8th, 1865.

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* The Surrender at Appomattox Court House (Mclean House) : April 9th, 1865.

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* Photos Courtesy of William Bechmann (2016).
 

KLSDAD

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#3
re High Bridge....I've often read of a "lower" wagon bridge and always thought that it was a two level bridge.

This morning after finishing up Bearss' second volume on the campaign it seems that the bridge was actually four miles lower down the river.

Can anyone confirm?

EDITED TO ADD... I'm wrong (see post below).
 
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Buckeye Bill

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#5
This is an interesting thread, Bill. Thanks for posting.
I have always wanted to drive the Appomattox Campaign (Lee's Retreat) route after my first visit to the Petersburg National Battlefield in 2007. I love the famous American Civil War battlefields but there is something special about touring the lesser known sites. Most individuals have read or studied about topics related to the Siege of Petersburg and the Surrender at Appomattox Court House. But most individuals have never visited places in Virginia named Jetersville, Amelia Court House or Rice's Station. I love the off-the-beaten-path venues!

Bill
 

CheathamHill

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#7
Thanks for letting us experience your trip through your threads Bill! Lee's retreat route is amazing. It looks **** near what it looked like 150 years ago. Not much has changed out there.
We had the opportunity to march a portion of that route last year for the 150th of Sayler's Creek. It was an amazing experience marching in the snow and stopping to make campfires at Holt's corner, where it looks identical to what it did in April of 1865.

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Buckeye Bill

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#8
Thanks for letting us experience your trip through your threads Bill! Lee's retreat route is amazing. It looks **** near what it looked like 150 years ago. Not much has changed out there.
We had the opportunity to march a portion of that route last year for the 150th of Sayler's Creek. It was an amazing experience marching in the snow and stopping to make campfires at Holt's corner, where it looks identical to what it did in April of 1865.

1fQIuRO.jpg

OJRAHn3.jpg

wFbB4wb.jpg

tG3AOXd.jpg
You are very welcome!

Nice photos...
 

KLSDAD

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#11
re High Bridge....I've often read of a "lower" wagon bridge and always thought that it was a two level bridge.

This morning after finishing up Bearss' second volume on the campaign it seems that the bridge was actually four miles lower down the river.

Can anyone confirm?
Sorry for the bad info.... the "the four miles downriver" (p 553) refers to the location of High Bridge in relation to Lee at Farmville when he ordered it to be destroyed.
 

Buckeye Bill

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#14
The Appomattox Campaign (Last campaign of the American Civil War) begins on this day in 1865. Federal troops under the command of Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant move against Confederate troops entrenched around Petersburg, Virginia. General Robert E. Lee’s outnumbered Confederates troops were soon forced to evacuate the city and begin a desperate race westbound towards Appomattox, Virginia.

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Buckeye Bill

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#17
The Battle of Five Forks was fought on this day in 1865. A mobile task force of combined infantry, artillery and cavalry from the Federal Army commanded by Major General Philip Sheridan defeated a Confederate Army combined task force from the Army of Northern Virginia commanded by Major General George E. Pickett. The Federal force inflicted over 1,000 casualties on the Confederates and took between 2,400 and 4,000 prisoners while seizing Five Forks, the key to control of the South Side Railroad. This railroad was a vital Confederate supply line to the Petersburg area.
 

Bruce Vail

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#18
These photos remind me of the back roads of Rockbridge County, Va., which I explored a bit back in the 1970s when I was a college student in Lexington. It was a delight to drive through some of those areas and turn a corner to find an old church or county store that dated back to the Civil War era (and before!).
 

bdtex

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#20
The Battle of Five Forks was fought on this day in 1865. A mobile task force of combined infantry, artillery and cavalry from the Federal Army commanded by Major General Philip Sheridan defeated a Confederate Army combined task force from the Army of Northern Virginia commanded by Major General George E. Pickett. The Federal force inflicted over 1,000 casualties on the Confederates and took between 2,400 and 4,000 prisoners while seizing Five Forks, the key to control of the South Side Railroad. This railroad was a vital Confederate supply line to the Petersburg area.
Good day for a bump. I really enjoyed my visit to Five Forks in January 2016. If my spouse hadn't been with me,my visit woulda been longer. There are some surviving earthworks kinda buried in the woods there.
 

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