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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Reams in Dinwiddie County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Battle of Reams Station

The Exposed Position of the Federal Artillery

 
 
The Battle of Reams Station - Exposed Position Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
1. The Battle of Reams Station - Exposed Position Marker
Inscription. The first field fortifications were built at Reams Station on July 1, 1864 by soldiers of the Union Sixth Corps while tearing up the railroad following the return of the ill-fated Wilson-Kautz cavalry raid. Hastily thrown up, the works were "L" shaped with the small arm of the "L" running north-south along the Petersburg (& Weldon) Railroad and the other face angled northwest.

Whe Federal soldiers arrived at the works on August 23rd they found that the trenches had been ravaged by weather. Rain had eroded the sides and water stood in the ditch that ran along the inside of the earthworks. In the center of the works the Depot Road ran through an opening ten yards wide. Northeast of that opening, the rail line ran though a deep cut behind the trench with walls as high as thirteen feet in some places. The artillery the Federals placed west of the railroad had to be moved there by hand - there was no room to maneuver horses or limbers - which meant that the cannons and ammunition could not be easily moved if the position were to be overrun. Union soldiers also built a new line that faced south and joined the small end of the existing works, changing the "L" shape to a "U".

Union Major General Andrew Humphreys described it: "The intrenchments at Ream's Station were slight... They ran along the railroad about twelve hundred yards,
Help Preserve Reams Station image. Click for more information.
2. Help Preserve Reams Station
Click here for details of CWPT's efforts.
Click for more information.
having a return about eight hundred or one thousand yards long at each end, the returns being at nearly right angles with the railroad. The direction of the returns subjected the troops in them to a reverse artillery fire."

The field works did their job for the first two Confederate assaults but then the third attack found the opening where the road-entered the northwest corner of the works ahead of you; it doomed the Federal soldiers trying to defend their unsupported position.
 
Erected by Civil War Preservation Trust.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Battlefield Trails - Civil War marker series.
 
Location. 37° 5.839′ N, 77° 25.282′ W. Marker is near Reams, Virginia, in Dinwiddie County. Marker is at the intersection of Halifax Road (County Route 604) and Oak Grove Road (County Route 606), on the right when traveling south on Halifax Road. Touch for map. Located in Civil War Preservation Trust's Reams Station Battlefield. The parking area is off Reams Drive. Marker is in this post office area: Petersburg VA 23805, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named The Battle of Reams Station (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Ream's Station
Close Up of the Map and Profile image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
3. Close Up of the Map and Profile
Click on the photo to zoom in.
(about 500 feet away); a different marker also named Ream's Station (about 500 feet away); a different marker also named The Battle of Reams Station (approx. 0.2 miles away); North Carolina (approx. mile away); a different marker also named The Battle of Reams Station (approx. mile away); The Petersburg Railroad (approx. 4.2 miles away); a different marker also named Reams Station (approx. 4.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Reams.
 
More about this marker. In the lower right is a photo of an Original 12-pounder bronze Napoleon cannon tube captured at Reams Station from Battery B, 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery. It was one of four guns lost after the battery ran out of ammunition and was then turned upon the retreating Federals by Confederate forces. It can be seen in the visitor center at Petersburg National Battlefield.

In the lower right is a map showing the positions described in the text. Below it is a profile of the position. The drawing below illustrates the vunerability of the Federal position here on August 25, 1864.
Exposed Position of the Artillery Wayside image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
4. Exposed Position of the Artillery Wayside
Men of the 10th Massachusetts Battery in the center of the line were exposed to deadly Confederate musket balls every time they stood up to load the guns. They positioned their guns and limbers on the west side of the deep railroad cut, while the supporting caissons were placed on the other side. Cannoneers had to traverse the railroad cut while exposed to incoming fire every time they replenished their ammunition.

 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. The Second Battle of Reams Station Virtual Tour by Markers.
 
Also see . . .
1. Reams Station. National Park Service site detailing the phases of the battle. (Submitted on November 23, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

2. Reams Station Preservation Efforts. The Civil War Preservation Trust continues their work ensuring the battlefield at Reams Station is preserved. This site offers not only maps and additional information about the battle, but "clean" copies of the markers on site. Look on the right under Slideshows for the Reams Station Interpretive Trail. (Submitted on November 25, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Traces of Federal Earthworks image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
5. Traces of Federal Earthworks
Looking southwest from the marker location. The tall grass indicates the traces of Federal earthworks.
The Railraod Cut image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
6. The Railraod Cut
View from the west side of Halifax Road looking over the old railroad bed. The cut here is today about 10 feet deep, but illustrates the point mentioned on the marker.
The 12-pounder Napoleon Captured at Reams Station image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
7. The 12-pounder Napoleon Captured at Reams Station
As mentioned on the marker, this 12-pounder Napoleon displayed at the Petersburg Visitor Center was captured from Battery B, 1st Rhode Island Artillery at Reams Station. It was later recaptured when Petersburg fell. The piece carries the registry number 253, and was made at Revere Copper Company, of Boston, Massachusetts. The gun weighed 1,238 pounds when cast in 1863.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 23, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,299 times since then and 79 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on November 23, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2. submitted on March 11, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on November 23, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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