Petersburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
- A.I.P. Varin 2nd Mississippi
Famous but militarily ineffective, the “Dictator” fired on Petersburg from this spot during July, August, and September 1864.
The Dictator was a 13-inch seacoast mortar similar to the one in front of you. It was the largest gun used during the siege and could lob a 225-pound explosive shell more than two miles. During its service in the siege lines, the Dictator fired 218 rounds at Petersburg and its defenses.
Erected by Petersburg National Battlefield, National Park Service, Department of the Interior.
Location. 37° 14.811′ N, 77° 21.392′ W. Marker is in Petersburg, Virginia. Marker can be reached from Petersburg Tour Road, on the left when traveling north. The marker is in Petersburg National Battlefield, on the Battery 5 Trail. The trailhead is at the Visitor Center. 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. Opportunity Lost (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Battery 5 of the Dimmock Line (about 700 feet away); Artillery at Petersburg (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Petersburg Campaign (approx. 0.2 miles away); Uprooted by War (approx. 0.2 miles away); Siege of Petersburg — Grant's First Offensive (approx. 0.2 miles away); Battery 5 Trail (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Siege of Petersburg (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Petersburg.
More about this marker. The marker is dominated by a photograph of the Union siege line and the Dictator. It has the caption This view, taken from your left, shows the Dictator and the entrance to its powder magazine.
The right of the marker contains a picture of soldiers loading mortars. It has the caption A battery of 10-inch mortars at work. Watching mortar shells arc through the night sky became a popular – and sometimes dangerous – spectator sport.
Also see . . . Petersburg National Battlefield. National Park Service. (Submitted on April 4, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • War, US Civil •
More. Search the internet for Dictator.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 4, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 2,788 times since then and 50 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on April 4, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 5, 6. submitted on December 22, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 7. submitted on April 4, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 8. submitted on March 21, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 9, 10. submitted on October 11, 2015. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.