JANUARY 1ST, 1865: As the new year opened, Confederate General Robert E. Lee clung doggedly to his position defending Richmond, conscious that world opinion had come to regard the fate of the Confederacy as inseparable from that of its capital city.
Equally determined that Richmond should fall, General Grant, with great superiority in numbers, pressed against Petersburg, key to Richmond's southern defense line. Grant also sought to break through to the westward, encircling Lee and Richmond, and cutting the Weldon, Southside (Lunchburg) and Danville railroads, by which the city and soldiers were supplied.
That Grant was at Petersburg and less than 20 miles from Richmond was wholly due to Federal Navy control of the James and Potomac Rivers. His waterborne line of supply extended up the James River to City Point, only seven miles from Petersburg. From this principal base at City Point, Grant coordinated the joint movements of the Army of the Potomac and the Army of the James.