Friday, May 14, 2010

Pre-Convention Travel, Petersburg, Virginia

We got here to Charlotte yesterday a little later than we planned, but not too bad. One thing we like about coming to the conventions is the chance to do side trips in different parts of the country. Yesterday, we got our history freak on and visited the battlefields around Petersburg, Virginia.

The Union troops attacked Petersburg hoping to cut off the Confederate capitol of Richmond. The first attack succeeded, but the commander didn't press his advantage and failed to take Petersburg.

A long siege ensued in terms both of time and distance. Troops built earthworks that stretched forty miles in some places. When you're driving in the National Park, you see unnatural hillocks throughout the forested land. They're the remains of the earthworks; the places where men fought, died, survived.

Petersburg is also the site of the Battle of the Crater. This was one of the most successful failures in military history. The explosion in the tunnel succeeded wildly, but the subsequent attack was a bloody disaster for the Union. Here are a few photos:

Opening to the tunnel Pennsylvania miners dug under Confederate lines.

Reproduction of the "Dictator" mortar the Union troops used to shell Petersburg.

A selection of Civil War cannon including a Dahlgren Boat Gun, Napoleon, Parrot, and a British breechloader.