150 years ago Anson Croman and the 20th Michigan Infantry Regiment continued to serve in the Siege of Petersburg Virginia, south of Richmond.
By August, 1864 they could only muster about 85 men for duty. When the 20th Michigan began service in July, 1862 it had 1012 enlisted men and officers.
After the defeats in June and July, 1864, General Grant ceased frontal assaults on the Confederate defenses of Petersburg.
Instead he sought ways to cut off the railroads supplying Richmond and Petersburg and force the Confederates to extend their lines to the breaking point.
The IX Corps with the 20th Michigan were part of that campaign including:
August 19 to 21: The Weldon Railroad south of Petersburg connected the besieged Confederates with their last major port of Wilmington, North Carolina.
After a series of battles, the Union captured a section of the Weldon Railroad.
That forced the Confederates to extend their trenches, unload their supply trains further south, and haul supplies by wagon using a longer route to the west.
Globe Tavern on the Weldon Railroad Battlefield.
Public domain photo from the Library of Congress.
August 25 During the Battle of Ream’s Station, the 20th acted as rear guard for the II Corps.
August 26 until September 30: The 20th was among the units that constructed fortifications to hold the captured sections of the Weldon Railroad southwest of Petersburg.
September 30: Battle of Poplar Springs, Church, Virginia. Captain Blood and Adjutant Siebert of the 20th Michigan were among the fatal casualties.
October 2: Skirmish at Pegram Farm.
October 8: Reconnaissance in force on the Boydton Plank Road.
October 27 and 28: Battle of Hatcher’s Run, Va.
During this period Col. Cutcheon was promoted to command of the 27th Michigan and Major C. B. Grant became commander of the 20th. Col. Cutcheon’s history is among the sources used to tell Anson Croman’s story.
November Presidential Election: Results from the 20th Michigan: 153 for Lincoln and 35 for McClellan.
The number of troops who voted (188) is higher than the number of men available for duty as it probably includes soldiers convalescing from wounds and disease.
About November 30: The 20th Michigan was transferred to Battery Nine on the extreme right of the Army of the Potomac along the Appomattox River.
Links to sources and for more information:
The story of the Twentieth Michigan infantry, July 15th, 1862 to May 30th, 1865. Embracing official documents on file in the records of the state of Michigan and of the United States referring or relative to the regiment. Compiled by Bryon M. Cutcheon.
Record of service of Michigan volunteers in the civil war, 1861-1865.Michigan. George H. Turner, Adjutant General’s Office.
If Anson Croman wrote letters home, none have survived. Therefore the best way to preserve the story of his service is by sharing the history of his regiment
Records document that Anson Croman was with his regiment from his 1862 enlistment until the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, Virginia in 1865.
The Musbachs and Robinsons are direct line descendants of Anson Croman and he is my 2nd great-grandfather-in-law.