Sunday, May 31, 2020

4th Offensive Union Prisoners as Reported in the Richmond Daily Dispatch

Each of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's offensives to take Petersburg resulted in not only killed and wounded soldiers, they also produced thousands of prisoners. The high price for the territory gained with each move forward were casualties of all kinds. I am continuing to find prisoner reports in Richmond newspapers for most every offensive. The above short story, relaying information on the Battle of Globe Tavern, aka Weldon Railroad, and Second Deep Bottom, ran in the Tuesday, August 23, 1864, edition of the Richmond Daily Dispatch.

1,474 prisoners at Globe Tavern, and 30-some from Deep Bottom, goes to show the large numbers being captured, often when Confederates counterattacked the initial offensive. What I want to get a better idea about is if these prisoners are largely finding themselves in helpless circumstances (i.e flanked or surrounded) where they truly have no other real choice other than to surrender, or are there instances where the will to fight is lacking, whether as a way to preserve their lives or from physical exhaustion? And, do the reasons for so many prisoners being captured change over the span of the Petersburg Campaign?

The Daily Dispatch ran another notice (above) on Monday, August 29, 1864.  It mentions that since "Friday night last," which would be since August 26, 2,100 Union prisoners arrived at Libby prison in Richmond. The vast majority of these men were "captured in the neighborhood of Petersburg," likely at the Battle of Reams Station (Aug. 25), south of where the fighting occurred a few days earlier at Globe Tavern and where the II Corps suffered a significant defeat. The notice also mentions that an additional 300 were captured at Lynchburg.

The search continues.

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