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Petersburg

 Related Terms

• Civil War
• 
Philip Sheridan
• 
Ulysses S. Grant
• 
Robert E. Lee
• 
Five Forks

Definition: Site of the all-important railroad nexus of the South. Grant hoped to close off the transportation terminus that had kept Richmond supplied. For this, Grant turned to the siege. He marched his troops south and across the James River, building a pontoon bridge more than 2,000 feet long. Lee hunkered down, too. For 10 months, both sides fought minor skirmishes from their trenches. The losses were staggering (30,000 total). Also notable for the Battle of the Crater, in which Northern engineers dug a 500-foot-long tunnel under Southern lines and blew up a powder charge. Unfortunately for the North, the crater wasn't far enough behind Southern lines, and most of those killed in the crater were Federals. Grant finally broke through on April 2, 1865, after Sheridan's cavalry pushed back a weak Southern detachment at Five Forks. With their lines (army and supply) broken, the Confederates retreated.

Related Resources:
The Civil War
The Civil War was one of the most devastating events in American History. Read about the causes, see the heroes, and share the horror. Start here.

Petersburg Battle Map
Petersburg Siege Map

Elsewhere on the Web:
The Siege of Petersburg
Tons of facts and figures, maps and details on this pivotal event.

The Battle of Petersburg
Follow the battle from both sides.

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