First Battle of Petersburg - Beauregard Defeats Butler

Description: On June 9, Maj.

Gen. Benjamin 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, Kautz’s cavalry division attempted to enter the city from the south via the Jerusalem Plank Road but was repulsed by Home Guards. Afterwards, Butler withdrew. This was called the “battle of old men and young boys” by local residents. On June 14-17, the Army of the Potomac crossed the James River and began moving towards Petersburg to support and renew Butler’s assaults.

The First Battle of Petersburg was an unsuccessful Union assault against the earthworks fortifications—the Dimmock Line—protecting the city of Petersburg, Virginia, June 9, 1864, during the American Civil War. Because of the rag-tag group of defenders involved, it is sometimes known as the Battle of Old Men and Young Boys.