Marching On Richmond: Virginia Farm 1864

As the summer of 1864 dragged on we continued to manoeuvre and fight indecisive engagements with our erstwhile rebel opponents. As Fall approached however we finally cornered the main Confederate Army in Virginia to force a major action to defend Richmond. My Division was engaged near the centre-right of our line, at a place we dubbed “Virginia Farm” where once again we found General Longman’s forces opposing us…

His Division was deployed holding a portion of the Confederate line where a small farm occupied the fringe of some woods, an area near where we had been manoeuvring around each other for some time since our major action in the Wilderness earlier in the summer. I deployed my Division into line of battle and we rapidly headed into action against the enemy…

9th South Carolina Defend The Farm

9th South Carolina Defend The Farm

I had secured my left with my massed artillery (5 sections) supported by the depleted veteran 2nd New Hampshire and the 4th “Magnificent” Maine ‘Old Reliables’ regiments – the artillery would bombard the opposing rebels in their entrenchments, covering Longman’s open flank. The bulk of my infantry would launch a conventional frontal assault, while the depleted 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry would endeavour to cover my open flank and probe for the extent of Longman’s positions on my right. The fresh and well manned 88th New York Volunteer Infantry would be my Divisional Reserve.

11th Virginians alongside the 9th South Carolina

11th Virginians alongside the 9th South Carolina

Facing us in the central farm & woods were the 9th South Carolina, and 11th “Rolls With The Punches” Virginians. On their (Confederate) right at the edge of the farm was the much depleted but heroic 14th North Carolina Volunteers. Further to their right entrenched opposite my guns were the 1st Texas. Entrenched in the woods on their left (opposite the 3rd PA Cavalry) but not yet visible to us, were the depleted 10th Alabama Volunteers; and forming his reserve was his artillery (the Lynchburg Battery of 3 sections), 24th Georgia Infantry Regiment, and 10th Alabama. The Louisiana Infantry and his Cavalry were currently not present.

The Union Attack Develops

The Union Attack Develops

Entrenched Confederate 'Swamp Rats'

Entrenched Confederate ‘Swamp Rats’

We pushed home our attack rapidly – that action was brisk and decisive – and our main force was soon through the woods into the farm and in close action with the Confederates. Our Regiments handled the rebels roughly, and they soon started giving ground (casualties favouring the Union Forces 6 to 3). We continued to maintain the pressure and pushed the rebels back further across the farm, to their rear the rebel reserves were continuing to complete their improvised entrenchments, and it wasn’t long before we had almost reached the far side of the fields (casualties now favouring the Union 9 to 3).

The Lynchburg Artillery Battery

The Lynchburg Artillery Battery prior to being overrun!

A desperate counter charge by the Confederates in the centre was thrown back, followed by our victorious troops following up the rebel retreat and overrunning the Lynchburg Artillery Battery (capturing 2 of the 3 sections)! The Confederate forces were now clearly on the back foot (casualties now favoured the Union Forces 16 to 7). At this point General Longman decided the day was lost, or that at least nothing further could be gained or achieved, and rapidly extricated his remaining forces – leaving us in possession of the field. It had been a brisk action and was all over in very short time.

As the battle subsided my division looked something like this:

  • 1st Minnesota (Strength 3)
  • 2nd New Hampshire (Strength 2; Veteran)
  • 4th “Magnificent” Maine (Strength 3; Old Reliable’s)
  • 54th “Unstoppable” Massachusetts (Coloured) (Strength 2; Veteran)
  • 29th Connecticut (Coloured) Infantry Regiment (Strength 6)
  • 88th New York Infantry Regiment (Strength 9)
  • 5th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment (Strength 6; Old Reliable’s)
  • 6th New Jersey (Strength 4; Veteran)
  • 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment (Strength 3)
  • Battery L, 1st Ohio Light Artillery (2 x Rifles)
  • Battery A, Maryland Light Artillery (2 x Napoleons; 1 x Howitzer)
  • Victory Points Earned: 7

Major General Longman’s Confederate force retired in the following shape:

  • 1st Texas Infantry (Strength 2; Veteran)
  • 10th Alabama Volunteer Infantry (Strength 4; Veteran)
  • 11th “RWTP” Virginia Volunteers (Strength 3; Veteran; Old Reliable’s; Sharpshooters)
  • 24th Georgia Infantry Regiment (Strength 9)
  • 9th South Carolina – dispersed, attempting to reform
  • 14th North Carolina – dispersed, attempting to reform
  • Lynchburg” Artillery Battery (1 x Rifle)
  • Victory Points Earned: 3

Plus the following troops that were not engaged in the battle:

  • 14th Louisiana Volunteer Infantry (Strength 3; Veteran)
  • 2nd Virginia “Lynchburg Cougars” Cavalry (Strength 2)
  • 4th Virginia “Deadly On 2 Legs” Cavalry (Strength 4; Veteran)

With winter approaching it looked like there would be a fifth year of the war, as we entered the winter of 1864/1865…

The Battle In Photos

Posted in Longstreet, Marching On Richmond, Sound Of The Guns Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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