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Near Petersburg in Dinwiddie County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The Breakthrough Trail
Pamplin Historical Park
 
The Breakthrough Trail Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
1. The Breakthrough Trail Marker
 
Inscription. A walk along the Breakthrough Trail is a journey into history! On April 2, 1865, thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers clashed here to determine the fate of Petersburg and Richmond. The Breakthrough Trail leads past many original features of this battlefield, including the Hart House and some of America’s best preserved Civil War fortifications. A series of interpretive signs, many with recorded messages, helps explain the dramatic events that occurred on this hallowed ground. This terrain is generally level, and the trail is well maintained for easy walking. Please help us protect the earthworks, rifle pits, house sites, and other historic resources along the Breakthrough Trail by remaining on the path.

[The] enemy have broken through our lines …. I see no prospect of doing more than holding our position here till night. I am not certain that I can do that.
- General Robert E. Lee, commanding Confederate army

Altogether this has been one of the greatest victories of the war.
- Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, commanding Union armies
 
Erected by Pamplin Historical Park.
 
Location. 37° 10.828′ N, 77° 28.519′ W. Marker is near Petersburg, Virginia
 
Tent in Confederate Winter Camp Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
2. Tent in Confederate Winter Camp
The marker for the Breakthrough Trail is located near the Winter Camp exhibit. The marker can be seen in the photo behind the tent and to the left.
 
, in Dinwiddie County. Marker can be reached from Duncan Road (Virginia Route 670). Click for map. Marker is in Pamplin Historical Park, at the Breakthrough Trail trailhead. Marker is in this post office area: Petersburg VA 23803, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Petersburg Breakthrough Battlefield (a few steps from this marker); The Confederate Fortifications (within shouting distance of this marker); Confederate Winter Quarters (within shouting distance of this marker); McGowan’s South Carolina Brigade (within shouting distance of this marker); Confederate Winter Huts (within shouting distance of this marker); 1st Lieutenant Octavius Augustus Wiggins (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); “The Strongest Line of Works Ever Constructed” (about 300 feet away); Lieutenant Colonel George B. Damon (about 400 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Petersburg.
 
More about this marker. The marker contains photographs of the two commanding generals, Confederate General Robert E. Lee and Union General Ulysses S. Grant. The bottom of the marker contains a map of the Breakthrough Trail, including the Hart Farm Loop.
 
Also see . . .
1. Breakthrough at Petersburg. The American Civil War website. (Submitted on January 17, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 
 
Confederate Fortifications Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
3. Confederate Fortifications
These are some of the well-preserved earthworks that are found along the Breakthrough Trail. They were the objective of the April 2, 1865 Union attack.
 

2. The Breakthrough Trail. Pamplin Historical Park website. (Submitted on January 17, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

3. The Final Assault. The Civil War Siege of Petersburg. (Submitted on January 17, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 
 
Hart House Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
4. Hart House
On the morning of April 2, 1865, Union troops of the Third Division, Sixth Army Corps, attacked the Confederate trenches located near this house, located on a spur off the Breakthrough Trail.
 
 
Fortifications along the Breakthrough Trail Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
5. Fortifications along the Breakthrough Trail
The trail takes the walker through one of the gaps in the Confederate earthworks. These openings allowed pickets to go back and forth from their posts for purposes such as gathering wood.
 
 
Confederate Gun Emplacement Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
6. Confederate Gun Emplacement
During the Breakthrough, Confederate gun crews at this two-gun redan manned cannons that fired on Union troops advancing across the shelterless ground seen here. The Breakthrough Trail can be seen on the right of the photo.
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on January 17, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,305 times since then. Photos:   1. submitted on January 17, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   2. submitted on March 2, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on January 17, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.
 
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