The Bermuda Hundred Campaign
Ending the war by a direct attack on Richmond was a key component of the Federal war effort in the east. Federal naval forces also blockaded the Confederate coast while the Federal army fought to capture key coastal cities and ports along the Atlantic and Gulf coast.
The first attempt to take Richmond was conducted by Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell in July 1861. This resulted in a Federal defeat at Bull Run.
In the Peninsula Campaign of April - July 1862, Maj. Gen. George McClellan pushed Confederate forces to the gates of Richmond. In six battles over a seven day period Gen. Robert E. Lee forced the Federals to retreat into a defensive perimeter on the James River.
In August 1862, Maj. Gen. John Pope attacked Confederate forces at Bull Run. This resulted in another Federal defeat on some of the same ground on which the first Battle of Bull Run had taken place.
In September of 1862, Gen. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia fought Maj. Gen. McClellan's Army of the Potomac to a draw in the single bloodiest day in American history at Antietam Creek.
In December of 1862, Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside attacked Lee at Fredericksburg. Confederates repulsed a dozen or more attacks by Federal brigades that were cut down in open fields by massed musketry and cannon shot.
After the defeat at Fredericksburg command of the Army of the Potomac was given to Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker. In May of 1863 he temporarily outflanked the Army of Northern Virginia at Chancellorsville. Lee twice divided his army and crushed Hooker right flank, sending the Army of the Potomac back across the Rappahannock in retreat.
Hoping for a victory on northern soil, Lee led his troops into Pennsylvania in June of 1863. The result was the epic three day battle in July at Gettysburg and the ill-fated "Pickett's Charge" on the third day with the Army of Northern Virginia suffering a devastating defeat.
Maj. Gen. George Meade, commander of the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg, tried to strike Lee's right flank along Mine Run in November of 1863. This attempt to get at Lee also came to naught. After nearly three years of war the Federal army was no closer to Richmond than Fredericksburg.
In March of 1864 Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant was named General in Chief of the Armies of the United States. His strategy was to strike Lee and the Confederacy on multiple fronts. Grant hoped that his superior resources and the attrition he would inflict on Lee, would ultimately lead to victory. His plan would be put into place in May of 1864 with the beginning of the Overland Campaign and the Bermuda Hundred Campaign.
This sign was sponsored by New Kent Aviation, Doug Cumins, President