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Virtual Tour by Markers of the White Oak Road Battlefield. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown. Use the “First >>” button above to see these markers in sequence.
Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Battle of White Oak RoadThe Walking Trail
Welcome to the Civil War Preservation Trust’s White Oak Road Battlefield! The battlefield walking trail is a two-thirds-of-a-mile path that takes you past six wayside signs interpreting the 1865 battle, the remains of the Confederate earthworks, and two well preserved gun emplacements. Allow one hour to walk this trail. The trail has a hard-packed walking surface; please do not stray from this trail. Beware of ticks and snakes that thrive in the woods surrounding the trail. Please stay off the . . . — Map (db m14795) HM
Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Battle of White Oak RoadFour Years of War, Ten Months of Siege
It was March 1865. The Civil War had raged across battlefields from New Mexico to Pennsylvania for four desperate years. More than three million men had fought and more than 600,000 men had died but, finally, the war was winding to a close. The Federal armies had essentially won the War in the West; Major General William T. Sherman’s men had captured Atlanta, marched to the sea to take Savannah, and moved up through South Carolina and into North Carolina. In the East, Federal Lieutenant General . . . — Map (db m14797) HM
Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Battle of White Oak RoadThe Battle of Lewis Farm
General Grant wanted to force his way around the Confederate right flank and cut the last remaining supply lines into Petersburg. The offensive began on March 29, 1865. Union Major General Philip H. Sheridan’s cavalry moved towards Dinwiddie Court House, about five miles southwest of here, to lure the Confederates out of their defensive works and to cut one of the Confederate army’s main supply lines: the South Side Railroad. At the same time an infantry corps under Major General Gouverneur K. . . . — Map (db m14805) HM
Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Battle of White Oak RoadMoving into Position
With their success at Lewis Farm, Union troops gained a foothold on one of Lee’s supply routes, the Boydton Plank Road. It was strategically necessary for the Federals to control this road because it was a major route Confederate General Robert E. Lee used to transport supplies to his army from North Carolina. On March 30, General Warren pushed his men as close to the Confederate defense line along White Oak Road as possible and had them build slight earthworks. Concerned about the Federal . . . — Map (db m14807) HM
Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Battle of White Oak RoadMarch 31, 1865
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 . . . — Map (db m14811) HM
Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Battle of White Oak RoadThe Union Counterattack
As the fight progressed, the Confederates met stiffening resistance. Lee and his subordinates realized they had too few troops to hold their advanced position. They determined to withdraw to the slight earthworks constructed by the Federal soldiers just south of this point. In the meantime, Union forces regrouped and were bolstered by reinforcements. At about 2:30 p.m., with everything in place, Union General Warren ordered a counterattack. General Robert E. Lee stood near this gun emplacement . . . — Map (db m14813) HM
Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Battle of White Oak RoadBreaking the Line
The Battle of White Oak Road left the Federals in position to block Confederate reinforcements from reaching their comrades further west. Both the Battle of White Oak Road and the Battle of Dinwiddie Court House were preludes to the climactic April 1st Battle of Five Forks; the “Waterloo of the Confederacy.” A late-afternoon attack at Five Forks, coupled with poor communication among the Southern command, allowed the Union an easy victory. Upon hearing this news, General Grant . . . — Map (db m14816) HM
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