Near Petersburg in Dinwiddie County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
First Man Over the Works
The Breakthrough Trail
— Pamplin Historical Park —
Gould’s regiment led the Vermont Brigade at the tip of the wedge-shaped formation advancing along the right side of the ravine. Through a misunderstanding of orders, Gould and about 50 of his men veered left across the ravine and approached the Confederate line at this point. The young captain scrambled through the obstructions, and over the parapet in advance of his small party.
In a matter of moments, Gould received a bayonet thrust through his mouth. He managed to kill his attacker, but then another Confederate slashed his skull with a sword. A third Southerner grabbed Gould’s coat allowing a comrade to plunge
By this time, additional Union troops had gained the works, among them Corporal Henry H. Recor who managed to pull the captain out of harm’s way and into the ditch in front of the fortifications. Incredibly, the thrice-wounded Gould staggered rear-ward until he found someone to help him reach a Sixth Corps hospital.
Charles Gould survived his injuries and wrote his brother on April 4, “Have got wounds enough to make a great deal of noise but they are all very light.” The army rewarded Gould with a promotion, and in 1890, he received the Medal of Honor for his unique ordeal on April 2, 1865.
Erected by Pamplin Historical Park.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is April 2, 1837.
Location. 37° 10.872′ N, 77° 28.441′ 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. Marker is in Pamplin Historical Park, on the Breakthrough Trail. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Petersburg VA 23803, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Brother vs. Brother (within shouting distance of this marker); 1st Lieutenant Octavius Augustus Wiggins (within shouting Lieutenant Colonel George B. Damon (within shouting distance of this marker); The Breakthrough (within shouting distance of this marker); Confederate Winter Huts (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Sergeant John E. Buffington (about 300 feet away); Battlefield Terrain (about 300 feet away); The Confederate Fortifications (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Petersburg.
More about this marker. The bottom right of the marker contains a photograph of Captain Gould with the caption “Charles Gould had earned a reputation as a daredevil in his hometown of Windham, Vermont. At age 18 he enlisted in the Union army against the wishes of his parents and was only 20 years old on April 2, 1865. Notice the scar on Gould’s face caused by one of the bayonet wounds he received during the Breakthrough.” The upper left of the marker features a picture of charging Union soldiers. This has a caption of “Small groups of soldiers like that of Captain Gould and his men pushed ahead of their regiments trying to be the first to place their flag on the Confederate works. This Edwin Forbes drawing shows a similar group of soldiers advancing with their colors.” The top center of the marker shows a picture of the award that Captain Charles G. Gould received at the Breakthrough. The caption reads “The Medal of Honor is the highest decoration for valor given by the United States Army. Congress authorized it for enlisted men in July 1862 and extended it to include officers in March 1863.”
Also see . . .
1. Breakthrough at Petersburg. The American Civil War website. (Submitted on January 14, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.)
2. The Breakthrough Trail. Pamplin Historical Park website. (Submitted on January 14, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.)
3. The Final Assault. The Civil War Siege of Petersburg. (Submitted on January 14, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.)
Credits. This page was last revised on October 26, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 14, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,301 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on January 14, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.