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

Opportunity Lost

 
 
Opportunity Lost Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
1. Opportunity Lost Marker
Inscription. “At that hour, Petersburg was clearly at the mercy of the Federal commander, who had all but captured it.”
- Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, CSA Confederate Commander, June 15, 1864

“Deeming that I held important points of the enemy’s line of works, I thought it prudent to make no farther advance.”
- Maj. Gen. William F. “Baldy” Smith, USA Union Commander, June 15, 1864

At 7 p.m. on June 15, 1864, the boom of Union cannons to the east foreshadowed a Union attack on the Dimmock Line. Minutes later, soldiers of the Union Eighteenth Corps broke through the undermanned Confederate line and swarmed over the works here at Battery 5. In two hours the Federal captured 1.5 miles of Petersburg’s defenses.

Though few Confederates stood between the Federals and the streets of Petersburg, Union Maj. Gen. William F. Smith stopped his advance to await reinforcements. Nine months of tedious, deadly siege would pass before the Federals would again have such an opportunity to capture Petersburg.
 
Erected by Petersburg National Battlefield, National Park Service, Department of the Interior.
 
Location. 37° 14.741′ N, 77° 21.42′ W. Marker is in Petersburg, Virginia
Marker and a cannon image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
2. Marker and a cannon
The "Opportunity Lost" Marker is located inside Battery 5. It is one of the "talking" waysides on the Battlefield. In the background is a rare 6-pdr Field Gun produced by Brierfield Arsenal, in Alabama. The gun is the sole surviving example of that manufacturer.
. Marker can be reached from Petersburg Tour Road, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. The marker is in the Petersburg National Battlefield on the Battery 5 Trail. The trailhead is located at the Visitor Center. Marker is in this post office area: Petersburg VA 23803, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Battery 5 of the Dimmock Line (within shouting distance of this marker); Artillery at Petersburg (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Petersburg Campaign (about 400 feet away); Uprooted by War (about 400 feet away); Dictator (about 400 feet away); Siege of Petersburg — Grant's First Offensive (about 600 feet away); Battery 5 Trail (about 600 feet away); The Siege of Petersburg (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Petersburg.
 
More about this marker. The upper left side of the marker features photographs of Confederate Gen. Beauregard and Union Gen. Smith, above the quotes from each. The right side of the marker contains a picture of “Union troops storm[ing] the Dimmock Line.” The bottom right of the marker features a map of Battery 5 and indicates the location of the marker. Like many others in Petersburg National Battlefield, this marker has a Petersburg Time Line along the bottom of the marker with this event highlighted.
Inside Battery 5 image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
3. Inside Battery 5
The trail through Battery 5 leads to the location of the "Dictator," a large motar that was used to shell the city of Petersburg during the siege.

 
Also see . . .
1. Petersburg National Battlefield. National Park Service. (Submitted on April 5, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

2. The Civil War Siege of Petersburg. (Submitted on April 5, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Battery 5 Cannon image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
4. Battery 5 Cannon
Several cannons are located in Battery 5 on the Dimmock Line in Petersburg National Battlefield. This gun is a 12-pounder Confederate Napoleon produced by Augusta Foundry, Georgia.
Confederate 12-pounder Iron Napoleon image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
5. Confederate 12-pounder Iron Napoleon
A Confederate gun looks out of Battery 5 toward Battery 6. This 12-pounder light field gun was produced by Tredegar Foundry, Richmond, Virginia. It was issued and used like the more familiar bronze Napoleons, but required a breech band, giving it a similar appearance to Parrott Rifles. Roughly 125 of these were produced in the later half of the war. Less than ten survive today.
Battery 5 Map image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
6. Battery 5 Map
Map from the marker showing the fortifications of Battery 5.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 5, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,002 times since then and 26 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on April 5, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   5. submitted on December 22, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   6. submitted on April 5, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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