Tag Archives: Breakthrough at Petersburg

If You’re Not First, You’re Last: Charles Gould’s Medal Citation

Recently I have fielded a couple inquiries about who I really believe was the first Union soldier to breach the Confederate earthworks outside of Petersburg, Virginia. I still remain convinced that Captain Charles Gould, 5th Vermont Infantry, was the first … Continue reading

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“Move at the Sound of the Bugle, …Straight to the Front”

The 2nd Rhode Island Infantry Regiment formed in June 1861 and fought from First Bull Run through the Appomattox Campaign. By the opening days of April 1865, Elisha Hunt Rhodes – who had enlisted as volunteer corporal – promoted to … Continue reading

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A.P. Hill’s Death Wish?: The Problem with Using Quotes

Lieutenant General Ambrose Powell Hill rode to his death during the immediate aftermath of the April 2, 1865 breakthrough at Petersburg. Hill sought to meet Major General Henry Heth at the division commander’s Pickrell house headquarters. Instead he encountered Pennsylvania … Continue reading

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Bittersweet Appomattox

First Lieutenant Robert Pratt belonged to the 5th Vermont Infantry, a regiment that rightfully claimed credit as the first unit to irreparably break the Confederate lines southwest of Petersburg on April 2, 1865. Pratt played a pivotal role in the … Continue reading

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ECW Weekender: Spot Where A.P. Hill Was Killed

It’s a bold claim to set in stone that you are on the exact spot of a historic event. In 1912 the Sons of Confederate Veterans felt confident enough in their research on the death of Lieutenant General Ambrose Powell … Continue reading

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Stolen Pie, but a Bigger Prize for Sergeant Young at Petersburg

Today is the favorite holiday for math teachers. March Fourteenth (3-14) represents the first three numbers in the mathematical constant pi. I’ve been using pi (3.14159…) a lot more than I had anticipated as a historian. Each time I rescale … Continue reading

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Another Courier’s Perspective: William Henry Jenkins and the Death of A.P. Hill

Earlier this week I shared some new information discovered about William Bennett Kirkpatrick, a previously unidentified courier who relayed A.P. Hill’s last message to his Third Corps headquarters on April 2, 1865. Within the hour, Corporal John Watson Mauk shot … Continue reading

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Identifying “Courier Kirkpatrick” on A.P. Hill’s Last Ride

Lieutenant General Ambrose Powell Hill was killed in the aftermath of the successful Union attack near Petersburg on the morning of April 2, 1865. Sergeant George Washington Tucker, Jr., the general’s chief of couriers, was the only Confederate present at … Continue reading

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Mapping the Attack on Fort Mahone, April 2, 1865

The VI Corps assault on the morning of April 2, 1865 unraveled the Confederate earthworks in Dinwiddie County and forced Robert E. Lee to issue orders to evacuate the lines around Petersburg and Richmond. Their dawn attack that I frequently … Continue reading

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A Look Back at Petersburg’s Breakthrough

April 2 marked the anniversary of the Union breakthrough at Petersburg, paving the way for the collapse of the entire Confederate line and the retreat to Appomattox. As it happens, we have one of the foremost authorities on the Breakthrough … Continue reading

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