Recently I had the opportunity to visit Sailor’s Creek Battlefield, which is part of the same-named Virginia State Park. On April 6, 1865, Union forces delivered a devastating blow to the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, which included eight generals and 7,700 men captured.
Recently updated trails, along with new interpretive signs help orient visitors to the “Black Day” of the Confederacy that was the Battle of Sailor’s Creek. A new visitor center, complete with state-of-the-art exhibits and eye-popping panels adorn the museum—all done by renowned Civil War historian Chris Calkins.
Below are a few pictures of the ground and terrain that erupted in fighting on that Thursday in April 1865.
One of the decisive components of the Battle of Sailor’s Creek was the advantage Union forces had of artillery. With a distance of approximately 800 yards, the Confederates had to withstand an approximate 30 minute bombardment.
From the opposite view, Confederate forces deployed on this ridge, and initially waited the Union advance. Some of the fighting boiled down to hand-to-hand fighting and the Southern forces actually counterattacked. Overwhelming Union numbers, including a cavalry flanking charge, eventually turned the tide.
This monument is situated outside the visitor center, honoring the men–both Union and Confederate–that fought here, three days before Appomattox.
When on the way to Appomattox this week to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Appomattox Court House, take a few moments to stop in at Sailor’s Creek, and honor the men who made the ultimate sacrifice 72 hours before the war ended in Virginia.