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Hopewell, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Clearing the Way

Petersburg National Battlefield

 

— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —

 
Clearing the Way Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, May 8, 2020
1. Clearing the Way Marker
Inscription.  
The 4th, 5th, 6th, and 22nd regiments of United States Colored Troops (USCT) seized this point on May 5, 1864, in advance of Union Gen. Benjamin Butler's force sailing up the James River. As the USCTs landed here, they quickly captured a signal station trying to warn Petersburg of the Union fleet. Another brigade of USCTs had already secured points downstream.

Butler had been sent by Gen. U.S. Grant to at least sever the railroad between Petersburg and Richmond. Though Butler failed, his USCT brigades succeeded in securing Grant's crossing of the James River in mid-June 1864 to establish his headquarters and supply base here.

These USCTs were critical in keeping the James River — the Union's life line— open for the rest of the war. They were also the first of thousands of African-American troops to serve at the Siege of Petersburg – the largest concentration of black soldiers in the Civil War.

[Captions:]
A company of the 4th USCT.

1st Sergeant Powhatan Beaty, 5th USCT
Clearing the Way Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, May 8, 2020
2. Clearing the Way Marker
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earned Medal of Honor at Battle New Market Heights on September 29, 1864

Sergeant Major Thomas R. Hawkins, 6th USCT earned Medal of Honor at Battle New Market Heights on September 29, 1864

 
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansWar, US CivilWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #18 Ulysses S. Grant, and the Medal of Honor Recipients series lists. A significant historical date for this entry is May 5, 1864.
 
Location. 37° 18.957′ N, 77° 16.388′ W. Marker is in Hopewell, Virginia. Marker is on Pecan Avenue, 0.1 miles east of Prince Henry Avenue, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1199 Pecan Ave, Hopewell VA 23860, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Quartermaster Repair Shops (within shouting distance of this marker); Virginia Indians near City Point (within shouting distance of this marker); City Point (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named City Point (within shouting distance of this marker); Taverns (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Housing Several Thousand Federal Troops
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(about 500 feet away); One Soldier, One Family, One War (about 600 feet away); Historic City Point (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hopewell.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 9, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 9, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 58 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 9, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Sep. 21, 2021