This Week in the Civil War - #887
The massive destruction of Union forces at the crater at Petersburg closed out the eventful month of July 1864. It had been a month that had seen Jubal Early’s Confederate cavalry literally at the gates of Washington, unable to take the city but placing Abraham Lincoln in a combat situation. Federal cavalry had pursued Early as he retreated through the Shenandoah Valley, but at the end of the month Early turned the tables on his pursuers by sending his cavalry once again over the Potomac to burn Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Before Atlanta John Bell Hood, the controversial corps commander who had assumed control of Joseph Johnston’s Confederate army, struggled to withstand Sherman’s larger Union force. To many, the outcome of the war remained in question during the chaotic summer of 1864.