This Week in the Civil War - #853
When Smith’s Union corps arrived at Petersburg, Confederate General Beauregard had only three thousand troops defending the city. To attack Petersburg, Grant ordered Hancock’s corps, the vanguard of his army which crossed the James, to assist Smith. On June 15, 1864, Smith’s troops attacked Beauregard’s defenses, taking a mile or so of Petersburg’s outer fortifications but not breaching the main Confederate line. Unfortunately, Hancock’s troops did not arrive until 7 pm and did not join the attack. This missed opportunity allowed Beauregard to shift troops from Bermuda Hundred on the James to Petersburg. The following day with Bermuda Hundred’s defenses stripped to a mere thousand troops Beauregard stopped the Federals at Petersburg. However, Union forces at Bermuda Hundred overran the weakened Confederate defenses, forcing a later counterattack to retake Bermuda Hundred.