The Battle of Petersburg was the longest battle of the American Civil War – 9 months of trench warfare. This was an important and strategic location in the south, where 4 railroad lines met before continuing on to Richmond, Virginia (then the capital of the Confederacy). Union forces wanted to seize Petersburg as part of its strategy to get into Richmond. In the summer of 1864, Union forces spent weeks digging mine that led underneath a sector of Confederate forces. On July 30, Union forces detonated explosives in the mine – a dramatic event that should have guaranteed their victory in Petersburg. Instead, Union forces were so shocked by their own explosion that their confusion gave Confederate forces time to regroup and counterattack. The result was a Confederate victory, 8 more months of trench warfare, and a crater that you can still see today at the Petersburg National Battlefield Park.
1. My mom, Linda, and brother, Travis, peer inside the entrance to the mine. 2. Fort Morton, where commander of the Union forces witnessed the Battle of the Crater unfold. 3. My mom at Confederate Battery 8, where the National Park service maintains examples of siege fortifications. 4. A canon at Confederate Battery 5. 5. The crater today.