The long winter of late 1863 and early 1864 was coming to an end, as witnessed by Sherman’s advance through Mississippi.
In Virginia, that theatre of war also was witnessing increased military activity. A three day, Union cavalry expedition from Yorktown toward Richmond involved skirmishing at Bottom’s Ridge and near Baltimore Store. The raid, the brainchild of Union General Benjamin Butler, was designed to have Union forces enter Richmond and release Union prisoners.
In northern Virginia, Union forces crossed the Rapidan River at Morton’s Ford but were pinned down by Confederate fire until safely withdrawing north of the river at night. Throughout the American nation Union and Confederate forces began “shaking off the rust” of winter inactivity and resuming the carnage of conflict that was the American Civil War.