None of these setbacks long deterred Grant from his larger strategic goals. In the Deep South, Sherman occupied Atlanta on September 2, while in the Shenandoah Valley, Sheridan won victories at Opequon Creek (September 19) and Fishers Hill (September 22). Determined to keep pressing Lee, Grant planned a new Federal movement at Petersburg to cut the Boydton Plank Road and the Southside Railroad.
A Federal force consisting of the Fifth Corps and two divisions from the Ninth under the command of General Warren began moving south of Petersburg. Its goal was to push west around Globe Tavern to reach the Boydton Plank Road. Just one serviceable trail led in that direction, and the long Federal column was long in passage. When the leading elements emerged into the open field near Popular Spring Church, only a small detachment of Rebel cavalry faced them in slight earthworks thrown up at Peebles farm. It took cautious General Warren some time to set up his attack which, when it went forward at about 1:00 p.m., swept everything before it. Warren then halted to regroup his units and consolidate his newly won position.
These delays allowed A. P. Hill, commanding in Petersburg while Lee was on the north side (Beauregard had left for Charleston on September 20 and would not return), to dispatch a division-sized counterforce that marched down Boydton Plank Road and took up a blocking position along some trenches that had been dug parallel to it. By the time Warren ordered a continuation of his advance toward the plank road, there were veteran Southern infantry in position. The fighting that followed swirled across the fields of nearby Jones' farm in a tumble of disconnected actions that finally stopped the Federals short of their goals.
Both sides paused. In a pattern familiar from the fight along the Weldon Railroad, Warren labored to erect strong defensive works, while the Confederates planned an attack. The battle that took place on October 1 was as brutal and as fiercely contested as any in the Petersburg campaign, with mixed results.
The Union forces (which suffered nearly 3,000 casualties) had cut neither the Boydton Plank Road nor the South Side Railroad but had secured another sector in the growing encirclement of Petersburg, stretching Lee's lines a distance of 30 miles. The Confederates (whose losses in these actions were about 1,300) had prevented a major Yankee breakthrough, but they had relinquished some important secondary road junctions around Peebles farm. Probing attacks in the week that followed merely affirmed the new situation.