Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Petersburg in Dinwiddie County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Attack Begins

The Breakthrough Trail

 

—Pamplin Historical Park —

 
The Attack Begins Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
1. The Attack Begins Marker
Inscription. Major General Horatio G. Wright deployed the 14,000 attackers of his Sixth Corps in a wedge-shaped formation. Although the entire battle front extended for nearly a mile, the point of the wedge was here, manned by the Vermont Brigade commanded by Brigadier General Lewis A. Grant. Some 2,200 Vermonters stepped out at 4:40 a.m. to lead the assault, their left flank hugging the ravine to your left. The rest of the Sixth Corps formed to the left and right of the Vermonters but somewhat behind them. At the sound of a signal gun, the entire Sixth Corps arose and moved forward, invisible in the misty darkness but making a noise “like a strong breeze blowing through the swaying boughs and dense foliage of some great forest.

The new Confederate picket line fell quickly, but the graycoats behind the main line of fortifications soon realized what was happening. The earthworks in front of you erupted with orange sheets of flame as rifles and cannon wielded by the alerted Southerners poured a deadly fire across this naked field. Could the Vermonters sustain their momentum?
 
Erected by Pamplin Historical Park.
 
Location. 37° 10.792′ N, 77° 28.435′ W. Marker is near Petersburg, Virginia, in Dinwiddie
Field of Attack image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
2. Field of Attack
On the morning of April 2, 1865, Soldiers of the Sixth Corps attacked across this field toward the fortifications seen at the top of the photo. This photo was taken from near the marker.
County. Marker can be reached from Duncan Road (Virginia Route 670), on the left when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is in Pamplin Historical Park, on the Breakthrough Trail. 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. Sergeant John E. Buffington (within shouting distance of this marker); The Hart Farm (within shouting distance of this marker); “The Strongest Line of Works Ever Constructed” (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lieutenant Colonel George B. Damon (about 300 feet away); McGowan’s South Carolina Brigade (about 300 feet away); The Confederate Fortifications (about 400 feet away); Petersburg Breakthrough Battlefield (about 400 feet away); Brother vs. Brother (about 500 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Petersburg.
 
More about this marker. The bottom right of the marker features a photograph of Major General Horatio G. Wright. The top of the marker contains a battle map of the April 2 action. It includes the caption “The Sixth Corps utilized a wedge-shaped attack formation with their units ‘in echelon’ to create the maximum drive and momentum necessary to pierce the Confederate fortifications. The point of the wedge belonged to the Vermont Brigade of the Second Division, which advanced using
Inside the Confederate Fortifications image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
3. Inside the Confederate Fortifications
This photo looks out of the Confederate fortifications in the direction of the Union advance.
the ravine to your left as a guide.”
 
Also see . . .
1. Breakthrough at Petersburg. The American Civil War website. (Submitted on January 14, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

2. The Breakthrough Trail. Pamplin Historical Park website. (Submitted on January 14, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

3. The Final Assault. The Civil War Siege of Petersburg. (Submitted on January 14, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Battle Map from the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
4. Battle Map from the Marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 705 times since then and 66 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Paid Advertisement