This Week in the Civil War - #899
On August 18 and 19, 1864 the Union Fifth Corps left its position sieging Petersburg and moved westward, occupying over a mile of the Weldon Railroad running south from Petersburg. Returning to the city, the Fifth Corps was halted by the terrain and Confederate troops commanded by Henry Heth. The following day, A.P. Hill’s Confederate corps attacked the Union Fifth, pushing the Federals away from Petersburg. But the vital Weldon Railroad remained in Union hands, with every single yard of track held by Union forces being systematically destroyed. By Sunday, August 21 Lee had to accept the loss of that section of the Weldon Railroad. Petersburg was even more isolated; virtually all significant rail lines linking Petersburg to the rest of the Confederacy had now been cut by Union forces.