April 24, 1781: Phillips and Arnold launch attack on Petersburg, Virginia

On the evening of April 24, 1781, British General William Phillips lands on the banks of the James River at City Port, Virginia. Once there, he combined forces with British General Benedict Arnold, the former American general and notorious traitor, to launch an attack on the town of Petersburg, Virginia, located about 12 miles away.

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Defending the town of Petersburg from the approaching British troops was a contingent of 1,000 troops from the Virginia militia led by Major General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben. General von Steuben had set up defensive lines of resistance, but had no real hope of victory as the Americans were severely outnumbered by the British army of 2,500 troops. After several hours of fighting, von Steuben ordered a full-scale retreat of the Virginia militia as the city of Petersburg fell into British hands. Although Petersburg was lost, General von Steuben and the Virginia militia were able to resist the British force long enough for Patriot troops to assemble and set up defensive positions in nearby towns.

Historical Events

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Phillips and Arnold launch attack on Petersburg, Virginia 1781
AUTOMOTIVE  
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CIVIL WAR  
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COLD WAR  
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CRIME  
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DISASTER  
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GENERAL INTEREST  
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HOLLYWOOD  
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LITERARY  
Sue Grafton is born  1940
MUSIC  
Patti LaBelle makes her debut on the pop charts, sort of  1962
OLD WEST  
Author Willa Cather dies 1947
PRESIDENTIAL  
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SPORTS  
Penguins defeat Capitals in marathon hockey game  1996
VIETNAM WAR  
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WORLD WAR I  
The Easter Rising begins in Dublin  1916
WORLD WAR II  
Erich Raeder, commander in chief of the German navy, is born on this day  1876
Britain begins its evacuation of Greece in Operation Demon  1940

 

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