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

“The Cannons’ Flashes Lit Up the Terrible Scene”

The Breakthrough Trail

 

—Pamplin Historical Park —

 
"The Cannons’ Flashes Lit Up the Terrible Scene" Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
1. "The Cannons’ Flashes Lit Up the Terrible Scene" Marker
Inscription. At various intervals along their lines, Confederate defenders constructed gun emplacements, called redans, such as the one in front of you. Each redan would hold as few as one or as many as six cannons. Virtually every square inch of ground in front of the works could be fired upon from two redans, creating a deadly crossfire for any attacker.

Cannons in these redans would be positioned in one of two ways. Guns en barbette were fired from raised platforms over the fortification walls allowing the widest field of fire. Some redans contained openings called embrasures through which artillerists aimed their cannon. Embrasures limited the field of fire but protected the artillerymen in the works.

Approximately twenty artillery pieces of various types opened on the Union Sixth Corps on the morning of April 2, 1865. Evidence suggests that two powerful cannons, 3-inch Ordnance Rifles belonging to the Norfolk (Va.) Light Artillery Blues, occupied this redan. The Union Sixth Corps recorded the capture of twenty Confederate cannons on April 2, including the two 3-inch Ordinance Rifles positioned here.

Artillery of the Breakthrough

3-inch Ordnance Rifle

Tube Length: 73 inches
Tube Weight: 816 pounds
Bore Diameter: 3.0 inches
Range: 1850 yards
Material: Wrought Iron

Light 12-pounder Howitzer,
Marker on the Breakthrough Trail Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
2. Marker on the Breakthrough Trail
Model 1857

Tube Length: 66 inches
Tube Weight: 1227 pounds
Bore Diameter: 4.62 inches
Range: 1620 yards
Material: Bronze (U.S.)/Iron (C.S.)

10-pounder Parrott Rifle, Model 1861
Tube Length: 78 inches
Tube Weight: 890 pounds
Bore Diameter: 2.9 inches
Range: 2000 yards
Material: Cast Iron

6-Pounder Field Gun, Model 1841
Tube Length: 60 inches
Tube Weight: 884 pounds
Bore Diameter: 3.67 inches
Range: 1520 yards
Material: Bronze

24-pounder Howitzer
Tube Length: 65 inches
Tube Weight: 1318 pounds
Bore Diameter: 5.82 inches
Range: 1325 yards
Material: Bronze


 
Erected by Pamplin Historical Park.
 
Location. 37° 10.663′ N, 77° 28.571′ W. Marker is near Petersburg, Virginia, in Dinwiddie 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. The Battle of Harmon Road (within shouting distance of this marker); The Breakthrough at Hart Farm (about 400 feet away, measured in a
Breakthrough Trail Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
3. Breakthrough Trail Marker
The redan that was probably occupied by the Norfolk Light Artillery Blues during the Breakthrough can be seen here behind the marker.
direct line); Sixth Maryland Infantry Monument (about 400 feet away); The Hart House (about 500 feet away); “The Strongest Line of Works Ever Constructed” (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Hart Farm (approx. 0.2 miles away); McGowan’s South Carolina Brigade (approx. 0.2 miles away); Petersburg Breakthrough Battlefield (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Petersburg.
 
More about this marker. The top of the marker features a map of the Confederate fortifications and indicates the range of fire of several types of cannon. The right of the marker contains pictures of the various artillery pieces described in the sidebar.
 
Also see . . .
1. Breakthrough at Petersburg. The American Civil War website. (Submitted on January 17, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

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.)
Confederate Artillery Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
4. Confederate Artillery
This cannon, in the fortification further along the Breakthrough Trail, is an example of the Guns en barbette, mentioned on the marker as having the widest field of fire.
 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Confederate Artillery at the Breakthrough Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
5. Confederate Artillery at the Breakthrough
Another view of the Guns en barbette that were fired from raised platforms over the fortification walls.
Cannons Firing Map from Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
6. Cannons Firing Map from Marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 859 times since then and 38 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 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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