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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Petersburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Digging the Mine

 
 
Digging the Mine Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
1. Digging the Mine Marker
This marker is located on the walking trail at "The Crater" Tour Stop.
Inscription. “We could blow that damn fort out of existence if we could run a mine shaft under it.”
- A private of the 48th Pennsylvania June 23, 1864

Spurred by the offhand suggestion of a former coal miner, on June 25, 1864, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Pleasants put his 48th Pennsylvania to digging. Their objective: to tunnel under the Confederate line and low up the battery at Elliott’s Salient.

Beginning on June 25, 1864, and continuing for the next month, these Pennsylvania coal miners burrowed a shaft 511 feet into this hillside. Then they packed four tons of powder into the magazines under the Confederate battery. At 3:15 a.m. on July 30, Pleasants lit the fuse and scrambled out of the tunnel.
 
Erected by Petersburg National Battlefield - National Park Service - Dept. of the Interior.
 
Location. 37° 13.156′ N, 77° 22.568′ W. Marker is in Petersburg, Virginia. Marker can be reached from Siege Road, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is in Petersburg National Battlefield. It is located on a walking trail that starts at Tour Stop 8. 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
Marker with Mine in Background image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
2. Marker with Mine in Background
The mine can be seen in the background of this photo. The marker is one of the "Talking Markers" and tells the story of the mine.
. Ventilation Shaft (within shouting distance of this marker); The Crater (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); “A Stupendous Failure” (about 500 feet away); Confederate Counterattack (about 500 feet away); Crater of Mine (about 500 feet away); Confederate Countermine (about 500 feet away); Dash into the Crater (about 500 feet away); South Carolina (about 600 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Petersburg.
 
More about this marker. The right side of the marker contains a painting of the soldiers at work, and has the caption Men of the 48th Pennsylvania dug the mine. Remembered one onlooker, “I used to watch them popping out of the hole like so many brown gophers.”

In the upper right of the marker is a portrait of Lt. Col. Henry A. Pleasants, a former mining engineer – the architect of the Petersburg Mine.

Below the portrait is a map of the area around the mine with the caption The picket lines opposite Elliott’s Salient were only 100 yards apart. Still, most military engineers thought it impossible to dig a mine that could reach from the Union to the Confederate works.

Like many other markers in Petersburg National Battlefield, the bottom of the marker has a Petersburg Time Line. The Battle of the
The mine image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
3. The mine
The walking trail passes close to the entrance of the mine. On the right, it can be seen following the direction of the mine toward the site of the Crater.
Crater is indicated on it.
 
Also see . . .
1. Crater. CWSAC Battle Summaries. (Submitted on April 13, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

2. National Park Service. National Park Service. (Submitted on April 13, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

3. The Mine. The Civil War Siege of Petersburg (Submitted on April 13, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Entrance to the Mine image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
4. Entrance to the Mine
The mine entrance looks very much like it did on July 30, 1864 when it was used to destroy the Confederate fort.
Inside the Mine image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
5. Inside the Mine
A peek through the doorway of the mine gives a look at how it appeared during the time of its construction.
Union Tunnel image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
6. Union Tunnel
On the trail to the Crater, evidence of the Union mine is still visible.
Entrance to Mines 48th Regiment Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, October 30, 2010
7. Entrance to Mines 48th Regiment Marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,003 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   7. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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