Union Forces Commanded by: Maj. Gen. Quincy Gillmore
Confederate Forces Commanded by: Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard
**Missing and Captured
Conclusion: Confederate Victory
On June 9, the first Battle of Petersburg was a minor, unsuccessful Union assault against the city of Petersburg. Due to the rag-tag group of Confederate defenders involved, it is sometimes known as the "Battle of Old Men and Young Boys."
Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Gen. Robert E. Lee were engaged in the Overland Campaign, facing each other in their trenches after the bloody Battle of Cold Harbor. Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler was bottled up in the Bermuda Hundred area to the east of Richmond, attempting to distract Lee by attacking Richmond. Butler realized that Richmond was supplied by railroads that converged in the city of Petersburg, to the south, and that taking Petersburg would cripple Lee's supply lines.
Butler dispatched about 4,500 cavalry and infantry against the 2,500 Confederate defenders of Petersburg. While Butler’s infantry demonstrated against the outer line of entrenchments east of Petersburg, Brig. Gen. A. V. Kautz’s cavalry division attempted to enter the city from the south via the Jerusalem Plank Road, but was repulsed by the Home Guards, manned almost exclusively by teenagers and elderly men. Afterwards, Butler withdrew.
On June 14–17, Grant and the Army of the Potomac slipped away from Lee and crossed the James River. They began moving towards Petersburg to support and renew Butler’s assaults. The second Battle of Petersburg and the Siege of Petersburg would soon follow.