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Battle of Hatcher's Run, VA
in the American Civil War

Union Battle Summary

Hatcher's Run, Va., Feb. 5-7, 1865. 2nd, 5th, 6th and 9th Army Corps, and 2nd Cavalry Division, Army of the Potomac. Gen. U.S. Grant, commanding the Federal forces about Petersburg, learned that the Confederates were receiving supplies by means of wagon trains from Hicksford on the Weldon railroad, via of Dinwiddie Court House over the Boydton plank road, and decided to break up this line of supply. Brig.-Gen. J.I. Gregg, commanding the 2nd cavalry division, was ordered to move with his command at 3 a.m. on the 5th and endeavor to intercept the trains. Maj.-Gen. G.K. Warren was directed to cross Hatcher's run with the 5th corps and take position on the Vaughan road about half-way between the run and Dinwiddie Court House, where he was to support Gregg. Maj.-Gen. A.A. Humphreys, commanding the 2nd corps, was ordered to seize and hold the crossings of Hatcher's run on the Vaughan road and at Armstrong's mill, about a mile and a half farther west. Mott's division took possession at Armstrong's. Lee had gained information of the movement against his right and had sent part of Hill's and Gordon's corps to protect the Boydton road. These forces had thrown up a line of works near the Thompson house, and Smyth's center was directly opposite these new works, which were only about half a mile distant. Communication was opened with Warren And Humphrey brought up Ramsey's brigade of Miles' division to fill the gap between Smyth and Mott's advance brigade (McAllister's), in order to be prepared for an attack should one be made. The enemy had a battery in position to enfilade the road leading to Armstrong's mill, and about 4 p.m. it opened fire, but receiving no reply the firing soon ceased. A little after 5 o'clock a heavy column of infantry advanced under cover of a heavy artillery fire against Smyth's right, and at the same time another column emerged from the woods near the Thompson house, evidently with a view of attacking Smyth in flank and rear. This column was promptly met by McAllister and Ramsey and driven back to the intrenchments. This timely action enabled Smyth to repulse the attack in his front, though the enemy's artillery kept up the fire until about 7 o'clock, but without doing any serious damage.

In the meantime Gregg had captured a few wagons and prisoners, but had discovered that the Boydton road was used but little in the transportation of supplies. He was therefore ordered to the Vaughan road crossing, and Warren was also directed to move his command to the same point. Gen. Meade, upon learning that the enemy was in force along Hatcher's run, ordered Hartranft's division of the 9th corps and Wheaton's of the 6th to report to Humphreys. Both divisions arrived during the night of the 5th and were placed on the right of the 2nd corps. About 1 p.m. on the 6th Warren sent Crawford's division of a reconnaissance on the Dabney Mill road, his left supported by Ayres' division and Gregg's cavalry. Gregg was furiously attacked by part of Pegram's division, but Griffin, who had been held in reserve, came to the assistance of the cavalry and the enemy was driven back. Crawford encountered the remainder of Pegram's command and forced it back to Dabney's mill, where the enemy was reinforced by part of Gordon's corps, which threatened to turn Crawford's left. Ayres hurried two of his brigades to Crawford's support, but the Confederates were further reinforced by Mahone's division and their whole line advanced, forcing Warren back rapidly and in some confusion, but with small loss. As the line fell back it came upon Wheaton's division of the 6th corps, advancing in line of battle, the retreat was checked, the line reformed and the enemy forced to retire to his works. About 10 a.m. on the 7th Crawford moved out from the righ of the 5th corps near Armstrong's mill and attacked the enemy, Baxter's brigade driving the pickets from the intrenched line where they had been found the preceding day. Two brigades of Wheaton's division were then sent forward to protect Crawford's flanks and at 6 p.m. he again attacked, drove the Confederates back to their line near Dabney's mill, and regained a good portion of the field from which the Union troops had been driven the day before, after which the Federal intrenchments were extended to the crossing of the Vaughan road over Hatcher's run. Te Union loss in the several actions was 171 killed, 1,181 wounded and 187 missing. Exact figures of the enemy's losses are hard to obtain, but it was estimated about the same, Gen. Pegram being among the killed.

Source: The Union Army, Volume 6, Cyclopedia of Battles, 1908


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