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150 Years Ago....Action at Fort Brady, James River

Subdeacon Joe

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January 24, 1865: Confusion and Delay on the James

In the early morning hours of January 24, 1865, 150 years ago today, a drama was playing out on the James River at Trent’s Reach between the Confederate James River Squadron and the Union Fifth Division, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. On the evening of January 23, Flag Officer John Mitchell’s Confederates set off from Chaffin’s Bluff with an audacious plan to break through the Union obstructions blocking the James River channel at Trent’s Reach and destroy Ulysses S. Grant’s all-important supply depot at City Point. As I discussed yesterday, City Point was the key to the Federal chokehold on Petersburg and Richmond. Supplies came up the James by water to City Point, and were then loaded onto wagons, mules, and railroad cars to be sent to the soldiers at the front. If City Point could be reached and destroyed by the Confederate ironclads, the Confederates reasoned, Grant would be forced to at least temporarily consolidate his position and release a bit of the iron grip he currently held.


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