Brilliant Scenes: Army Engineers in the Overland Campaign
CORPS OF ENGINEERS FORT BELVOIR VA OFFICE OF HISTORY
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The Overland Campaign of the Civil War began on 4 May 1864 and lasted 45 days. Stalemated at almost every turn, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant continually attempted to sidestep General Robert E. Lees right flank as the forces moved south until the two armies came to rest and entrenched at Cold Harbor, Virginia. Grant changed his strategy thereafter by marching across the Chickahominy River, crossing the James River unopposed, and attempting to seize the Confederate transportation hub at Petersburg, Virginia, on the Appomattox River. This article examines the operations of Company A, U.S. Engineer Battalion, during the campaign, especially its actions on 14 June 1864 when the battalion assisted the Engineer Brigade of the Army of the Potomac erect a ponton bridge across the James River. The second part of the article will examine the demographics of the unit based on a study of the relevant muster rolls and the service and pension records of the officers and enlisted men assigned to the company at that time.
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