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

Fort Hays

A Silent Witness

 
 
Fort Hays marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, April 22, 2007
1. Fort Hays marker
Inscription.  The land on which Fort Hays is built was fought over on June 22, 1864, when the Union army first attempted to cut one of Lee’s vital rail supply lines, the Petersburg Railroad (usually called the Weldon Railroad) located about three miles west. While the Federals were unsuccessful then in what is known as the Battle of Jerusalem Plank Road, they did gain ground here and began entrenching. Fort Hays was constructed between August 26 and September 7 after Union victories on August 18-21 in the Second Battle of Weldon Railroad (Globe Tavern). The fort, built to handle ten field guns, held four cannons and a 300-man garrison.

Most forts in the Federal siege lines around Petersburg were named posthumously for Union officers who either died in nearby fighting or during the preceding campaign. Fort Hays was named for Gen. Alexander Hays, a native of Pennsylvania, who graduated from West Point in the class of 1844. He served in the Mexican War and afterward became a construction engineer. When the Civil War began, he became colonel of the 63rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. He was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers on September 29,
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1862, after suffering a severe wound in the Second Battle of Manassas. Hayes rejoined the army in June 1863 and led a II Corps division at Gettysburg with conspicuous gallantry. He was killed on May 5, 1864, west of Fredericksburg in the Battle of the Wilderness near the intersection of Brock Road and Orange Plank Road. He is buried in Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is May 1724.
 
Location. 37° 10.862′ N, 77° 22.945′ W. Marker is in Petersburg, Virginia. Marker is on Flank Road, on the right when traveling west. Marker is located on the north side of Flank Road, midway between Jerusalem Plank Road (US 301) and Birdsong Road (CR 629). Flank Road is part of Petersburg National Battlefield. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Petersburg VA 23805, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Battle of Jerusalem Plank Road (approx. 0.7 miles away); a different marker also named The Battle of Jerusalem Plank Road (approx. 0.7 miles away); Fort Davis (approx. 0.9 miles away); a different marker also named Fort Davis
Close up of the Battle Map image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
2. Close up of the Battle Map
(approx. 0.9 miles away); Lincoln In Petersburg (approx. 1˝ miles away); Pennsylvania Monument (approx. 1˝ miles away); Col. George W. Gowen Monument (approx. 1˝ miles away); Battery 31 (approx. 1.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Petersburg.
 
More about this marker. On the lower left is a portrait of Gen. Alexander Hays. In the center is an engineering plan of the fort, with a highlight over the portion of the fort visible today. A map on the right details, "The Battle of Jerusalem Plank Road, fought on June 22," which "swirled around this site. Although the Confederates successfully defended the area at the time, the Federals soon occupied this ground and constructed Fort Hays."
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Markers and monuments to General Hays
 
Also see . . .
1. The Civil War Siege of Petersburg. (Submitted on November 28, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. General Alexander Hays. (Submitted on November 28, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
 
Close up of the Fort Plan image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
3. Close up of the Fort Plan
Note the highlighted portion which indicates the visible portion of the fort's earthworks.
Fort Hays - A Silent Witness image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, April 22, 2007
4. Fort Hays - A Silent Witness
The Battle of Jerusalem Plank Road, fought on June 22, 1864, swirled around this site. Although the Confederates successfully defended the area at the time, the Federals soon occupied this ground and constructed Fort Hays.
Section of the Fort Hays Earthworks image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
5. Section of the Fort Hays Earthworks
Fort Preservation image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
6. Fort Preservation
The section of the fort was preserved by efforts of the Col. James D. Brady Camp 63, Sons of Union Veterans, the Petersburg National Battlefield, the City of Petersburg, and an anonymous donor from the Petersburg Country Club.
Alexander Hays death monument image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, April 22, 2007
7. Alexander Hays death monument
General Alexander Hays died in the Battle of the Wilderness. See related markers for more information.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 2, 2023. It was originally submitted on November 18, 2007, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 2,534 times since then and 65 times this year. Last updated on November 28, 2007, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. Photos:   1. submitted on November 18, 2007, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.   2, 3. submitted on December 24, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   4. submitted on November 18, 2007, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.   5, 6. submitted on December 24, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   7. submitted on November 18, 2007, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 18, 2024