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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Petersburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Prelude to the Crater

 
 
Prelude to the Crater Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
1. Prelude to the Crater Marker
Inscription. “The mine is all finished, the powder in, the fuse all ready. I hope that the attack will be successful, for if it is, we shall have Petersburg in our possession.”
- Col. Stephen M. Weld, 50th Massachusetts July 28, 1864

The predawn darkness of July 30, 1864, shrouded intense Union preparations on this ridge. Thousands of troops filed quietly into the ravine and trenches in front. More than 160 cannon crowded the earthworks to your right and left. Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, commander of the attacking force, took his place in the 14-gun battery (Fort Morton) behind you. By 3:30 a.m. all was ready. Only one detail remained: the explosion of the mine.
 
Erected by Petersburg National Battlefield - National Park Service - Dept. of the Interior.
 
Location. 37° 13.105′ N, 77° 22.306′ W. Marker is in Petersburg, Virginia. Marker is on Siege Road, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in Petersburg National Battlefield on the Auto Tour Road at Tour Stop 7. 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. A Fatal Error (here, next to this marker); Waiting Their Turn
Marker and Remains of the Taylor Kitchen image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
2. Marker and Remains of the Taylor Kitchen
(about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Dash into the Crater (approx. 0.2 miles away); Digging the Mine (approx. ¼ mile away); Ventilation Shaft (approx. ¼ mile away); Joshua L. Chamberlain Promoted “On The Spot” (approx. 0.3 miles away); “A Stupendous Failure” (approx. 0.3 miles away); Confederate Counterattack (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Petersburg.
 
More about this marker. The background of the marker is a picture of artillery fighting along the lines. The marker also contains a map of the fortifications in the area. It has the caption The Federals massed nearly 15,000 men and more than 160 cannons for the attack. Most of the earthworks that protected them were plowed over by the Taylor family after the war.

The bottom of the marker features a Petersburg Time Line, and indicates the Battle of the Crater.
 
Also see . . .
1. Crater. CWSAC Battle Summaries. (Submitted on April 12, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

2. Petersburg National Battlefield
Taylor Kitchen Remains image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
3. Taylor Kitchen Remains
All of the Taylor farm buildings were destroyed at the start of the siege. Only the foundations of the Taylor kitchen and slave quarters remain today.
. National Park Service. (Submitted on April 12, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

3. Battle of the Crater. The Civil War Siege of Petersburg. (Submitted on April 12, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Detail of Marker Map image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
4. Detail of Marker Map
Map shows the Confederate and Union fortifications in the vicinity of the marker.
Markers at Taylor Farm. image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
5. Markers at Taylor Farm.
There are two markers relating to the Crater at this location. The site of the Crater can be seen in the background.
View of the Crater from Fort Morton image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, October 30, 2010
6. View of the Crater from Fort Morton
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 12, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 933 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on April 12, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   6. submitted on October 31, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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