White Oak Road

White Oak Road Battle

White Oak Road

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By late March 1865, the battle lines surrounding Petersburg had extended west into Dinwiddie County. Lieut. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant knew his larger army could eventually stretch Gen. Robert E. Lee's Confederates to the breaking point. On March 30th, Lee  shifted reinforcements to meet a Federal movement to turn his right flank along the line, placing Maj. Gen. W.H. Fitzhugh Lee’s cavalry divisions at Five Forks and transferring Maj. Gen. George Pickett’s division from the Bermuda Hundred front to the extreme right. Union Maj. Gen. Gouverneur Warren pushed the Fifth Corps forward and entrenched a line to cover the Boydton Plank Road from its intersection with Dabney Mill Road south to Gravelly Run. Union Maj. Gen. Romeyn Ayres’s division advanced northwest toward White Oak Road. On March 31st, in combination with Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan’s cavalry thrust via Dinwiddie Court House, Warren directed his corps against the Confederate entrenchments along White Oak Road, hoping to cut Lee’s communications with Pickett at Five Forks. The Union advance was stalled by a crushing counterattack directed by Maj. Gen. Bushrod Johnson, but Warren’s position stabilized and his soldiers closed on the road by day’s end. This fighting set up the Confederate defeat at Five Forks on April 1st.

Battle Facts

Result

Union Victory
COMMANDERS
Forces Engaged
30,000

Union

22,000

Confederate

8,000
Total Estimated Casualties
2,670

Union

1,870

Confederate

800