Under Fire: Battlefield Guide Map for the Charge of the First Maine Heavy Artillery

The First Maine Heavy Artillery famously participated in the last desperate attempt in June 1864 to simply seize Petersburg by direct assault. Many incorrectly assume the battle was the first for these callups from the Washington defenses, though a Sesquicentennial post by Chris Mackowski showed that the regiment had already seen hard combat at Spotsylvania. Nevertheless, the newly converted infantrymen had a harrowing experience unlike any of the seasoned veterans of the Union II Corps.

Modern visitors to Petersburg National Battlefield have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the charge up to the point where it broke apart–at a spot afterward marked by a monument to the 632 casualties suffered by the regiment in just ten minutes. The map below offers a guide to touring this hallowed ground. Please note that the Union earthworks around and including Fort Stedman did not exist during the June attack.

Map by Author, click on image for full resolution.

More on the battle from the ECW archives:

Sean Michael Chick – Petersburg Day Four: Saturday, June 18, 1864

Chris Mackowski – The Siege of Petersburg: The 1st Maine Heavies

Doug Ullman – A First Maine Artilleryman

Richard Heisler – Far Beyond the Sounds of Battle – Seattle, 1864


2 Responses to Under Fire: Battlefield Guide Map for the Charge of the First Maine Heavy Artillery

  1. Good morning, Edward. I’ve walked to the 1st Maine Heavies monument after parking at Ford Stedman. From your map, it appears that a more accurate way to follow the regiment’s actual charge would be to start on the Friend Trail and walk west until I reach the monument. Would this closely follow the route of the charge?

    1. Unfortunately, more than half of the regiment charged across what is now the housing development north of the park’s boundary.

Please leave a comment and join the discussion!

%d bloggers like this: