Peebles’ Farm (September 30-October 2, 1864) – With skirmishing occurring at several sites in Dinwiddie County, this three-day engagement is also known as the Battles of Poplar Springs Church, Wyatt’s Farm, Chappell’s House, Pegram’s Farm, Vaughan Road, and Harmon Road. In combination with Union Major General Benjamin Butler’s offensive north of the James River, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant extended his left flank to cut Confederate lines of communication southwest of Petersburg. Two divisions of the IX Corps under Major General John G. Parke, two divisions of the V Corps under Major General G.K. Warren, and Brigadier General David M. Gregg’s cavalry division were assigned to the operation. On September 30th, the Federals marched via Poplar Spring Church to reach Squirrel Level and Vaughan Roads. The initial Federal attack overran Fort Archer, flanking the Confederates out of their Squirrel Level Road line. In the late afternoon, Confederate reinforcements arrived, slowing the Federal advance. On October 1st, the Federals repulsed a Confederate counterattack directed by Lieutenant General A.P. Hill. Reinforced by Major General Gershom Mott’s division, the Federals resumed their advance on October 2nd and captured Fort MacRae which was lightly defended, and extended their left flank to the vicinity of Peebles’ and Pegram’s Farms. With these limited successes, Major General George G. Meade suspended the offensive. A new line was entrenched from the Federal works on Weldon Railroad to Pegram’s Farm. The Union victory resulted in total estimated casualties of 3,800 men.
Darbytown and New Market Roads (October 7, 1864) – Also called the Battle of Johnson’s Farm and the Battle of Fourmile Creek, this engagement took place in Henrico County. Responding to Fort Harrison’s loss and the increasing Federal threat against Richmond, General Robert E. Lee directed an offensive against the Union far right flank on October 7th. After routing the Federal cavalry from their position covering Darbytown Road, Major Generals Robert Hoke’s and Charles W. Field’s divisions assaulted the main Union defensive line along New Market Road and were repulsed. Confederate General John Gregg of the Texas brigade was killed. The Federals were not dislodged, and General Robert E. Lee withdrew into the Richmond defenses. The Union victory resulted in total estimated casualties of 1,750 men.
Darbytown Road (October 13, 1864) – Skirmishing continued in Henrico County in this engagement also known as the Battle of Alms House. On October 13th, Union forces advanced to find and feel the new Confederate defensive line in front of Richmond. While mostly a battle of skirmishers, a Federal brigade assaulted fortifications north of Darbytown Road and was repulsed with heavy casualties. The Federals retired to their entrenched lines along New Market Road. The Confederate victory resulted in total estimated casualties of 950 men.
Fair Oaks and Darbytown Road (October 27-28, 1864) – Also taking place in Henrico County, this engagement is also called the Second Battle of Fair Oaks. In combination with movements against the Boydton Plank Road at Petersburg, Union Major General Benjamin Butler attacked the Richmond defenses along Darbytown Road with the X Corps. The XVIII Corps marched north to Fair Oaks, where it was soundly repulsed by Major General Charles W. Field’s Confederate division. Confederate forces counterattacked, taking some 600 prisoners. The Richmond defenses remained intact. Of Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant offensives north of the James River, this was repulsed most easily. The Confederate victory resulted in total estimated casualties of 1,750 men.
Boydton Plank Road (October 27-28, 1864) – Also known as the Battles of Hatcher’s Run and Burgess’ Mill, this two-day engagement occurred in Dinwiddie County. Directed by Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, divisions from Union corps II, V, and IX Brigadier General David Gregg’s cavalry division, numbering more than 30,000 men, withdrew from the Petersburg lines and marched west to operate against the Boydton Plank Road and South Side Railroad.
The initial Union advance on October 27th gained the Boydton Plank Road, a major campaign objective. That afternoon, a counterattack near Burgess’ Mill spearheaded by Major General Henry Heth’s division and Major General Wade Hampton’s cavalry isolated the II Corps and forced a retreat. The Confederates retained control of the Boydton Plank Road for the rest of the winter. The Confederate victory resulted in estimated casualties of 1,758 Union and 1,300 Confederate.
Hatcher’s Run (February 5-7, 1865) – Fighting continued in Dinwiddie County during this three-day engagement also known as the Battles of Dabney’s Mill, Rowanty Creek, Armstrong’s Mill, and Vaughan Road. On February 5th, Brigadier General David Gregg’s cavalry division rode out to the Boydton Plank Road via Ream’s Station and the Dinwiddie Court House to intercept Confederate supply trains. Union Major General G.K. Warren with the V Corps crossed Hatcher’s Run and took up a blocking position on the Vaughan Road to prevent interference with Gregg’s operations. Two divisions of the II Corps under Major General A.A. Humphreys shifted west to near Armstrong’s Mill to cover Warren’s right flank. Late in the day, Confederate Major General John B. Gordon attempted to turn Humphrey’s right flank near the mill but was repulsed. During the night, the Federals were reinforced by two divisions. On February 6th, Gregg returned to Gravelly Run on the Vaughan Road from his unsuccessful raid and was attacked by Brigadier General John Pegram’s Confederate division elements. Warren pushed forward a reconnaissance in Dabney’s Mill’s vicinity and was attacked by Pegram’s and Major General William Mahone’s divisions. General Pegram was killed in action. Although the Union advance was stopped, the Federals extended their siege works to the Vaughan Road crossing of Hatcher’s Run. The engagement resulted in estimated total casualties of 2,700.
Fort Stedman (March 25, 1865) – In a last-gasp offensive, General Robert E. Lee amassed nearly half of his army in an attempt to break through Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant Petersburg defenses and threaten his supply depot at City Point. Directed by Major General John B. Gordon, the pre-dawn assault on March 25th overpowered the garrisons of Fort Stedman and Batteries X, XI, and XII. The Confederates were brought under a killing crossfire, and counter-attacks led by Union Major Generals John G. Parke and Brigadier General John F. Hartranft contained the breakthrough, cut off, and captured more than 1,900 of the attackers. During the day, elements of the II and VI Corps assaulted and captured the entrenched picket lines in their respective fronts, which had been weakened for the assault on Fort Stedman. This was a devastating blow for General Lee’s army, setting up the Confederate defeat at Five Forks on April 1st and the fall of Petersburg on April 2-3. The Union victory resulted in estimated casualties of 950 Union and 2,900 Confederate.
Battle summary information courtesy of the American Battlefield Protection Program. Summaries were researched and written by Dale E. Floyd and David W. Lowe, staff members of the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission and historians with the National Park Service.