By April 1865, the siege of Virginia’s second city had lasted 10 months. An earlier Union assault in June 1864 had been repulsed at the Battle of the Crater, but now Confederate defenders were vastly outnumbered, with waning provisions and depleted munitions. At the end of March, Union Commander Ulysses S. Grant ordered a series of attacks to sever remaining Confederate supply links, culminating in a rout of the Confederate right flank on 1 April. Emboldened, Grant ordered an all-out assault the following morning. General Wright’s VI Corps made the initial breakthrough, but, in the fog of battle, in was not until he came upon General Ord (Army of the James) within the Confederate entrenchments, that they combined to storm the city itself. Realizing all was lost, Southern Commander Robert E. Lee ordered abandonment of the city, and sent on instructions to his government in Richmond to flee. The Confederates were on the verge of total defeat.
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