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Petersburg in Dinwiddie County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Battle of White Oak Road

March 31, 1865

 
 
The Battle of White Oak Road Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 22, 2006
1. The Battle of White Oak Road Marker
Inscription. Early on the morning of March 31, 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee sent most of a division forward to attack the Federals from this location at White Oak Road. Fighting through the morning, the Confederate brigades enveloped and put to flight two Federal divisions in succession.

Lewellyn Shaver of the 60th Alabama was posted just west of here. There, “we were in line of battle in a piece of woods in front of which distant about 50 yards lay the road. Beyond … an extensive field – probably a mile and a half in length by a half mile in width. In this field, about a hundred and fifty yards from the road, was a line of picket holes, each fifty yards apart, occupied by Confederate riflemen.” Beyond, Shaver noted, “two heavy lines of battle of Federal infantry, distinctly visible on the further edge of the field.”

Four Confederate brigades formed in the woods on the north side of White Oak Road, then advanced and smashed into the Federal columns. Brigadier General Romeyn B. Ayres’ Federal division shattered under the onslaught and fled, along with Brigadier General Samuel Crawford’s division, back across Gravelly Run to the south. A member of the 6th Wisconsin, one of the regiments in Crawford’s division, recalled, “The formation of our lines was not completed before
Civil War Preservation Trust image, Click for more information
2. Civil War Preservation Trust
the enemy attacked us, bursting through gaps in our lines … catching the 3rd brigade while getting into position and driving them back in confusion, which exposed the right flank of our brigade and our regiment especially.”


Confederate General Robert E. Lee rode along these fortifications on the morning of March 31st inspecting the lines. He learned from Bushrod Johnson’s men that Union troops in front of the works had their “left flank in the air.” To take advantage of this careless disposition of Union troops, Lee was determined to attack and to roll up the exposed Union flank.
 
Erected by Civil War Preservation Trust.
 
Location. 37° 9.075′ N, 77° 32.766′ W. Marker is in Petersburg, Virginia, in Dinwiddie County. Marker can be reached from White Oak Road, on the left when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is on the Battle of White Oak Road walking trail. The trail starts from the parking lot at the corner of White Oak Road and Clairborne Road. Marker is in this post office area: Petersburg VA 23803, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named The Battle of White Oak Road (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named The Battle of White Oak Road
Marker on the Battle of White Oak Road Walking Trail Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 22, 2006
3. Marker on the Battle of White Oak Road Walking Trail
White Oak Road fortifications can be seen in the photo behind the marker.
(within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named The Battle of White Oak Road (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named The Battle of White Oak Road (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named The Battle of White Oak Road (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named The Battle of White Oak Road (approx. 0.2 miles away); White Oak Road Engagement (approx. 0.2 miles away); Gravelly Run Quaker Meeting House (approx. 1.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Petersburg.
 
More about this marker. The lower left of the marker contains a photograph of Gen. Warren, with the caption “Union General Gouverneur K. Warren’s Fifth Corps maneuvered to interpose itself between Confederate General Anderson’s lines and General Pickett’s forces to the west.” The top of the marker features a picture of Gen. Johnson, with the caption “Confederate General Bushrod Johnson’s troops were tasked with flanking the Federals.” A map of the March 31, 1865 battle showing troop positions
Earthworks Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 22, 2006
4. Earthworks
These fortifications are located on the walking trail near the marker.
and movements appears on the upper right of the marker.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Virtual Tour by Markers of the White Oak Road Battlefield. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
 
Also see . . .
1. White Oak Road. The Civil War Siege of Petersburg. (Submitted on December 28, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

2. Saving America’s Threatened Civil War Battlefields. Civil War Preservation Trust. (Submitted on December 28, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 
 
Categories. Notable EventsNotable PlacesWar, US Civil
 
The White Oak Battle Map from Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 22, 2006
5. The White Oak Battle Map from Marker
The Battle of White Oak Road Walking Trail Map Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 22, 2006
6. The Battle of White Oak Road Walking Trail Map
The location of "The Battle of White Oak Road" marker is indicated on this map of the walking trail.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,062 times since then and 71 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   2. submitted on .   3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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