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

Ventilation Shaft

 
 
Ventilation Shaft Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
1. Ventilation Shaft Marker
This marker is located on the walking trail at "The Crater" Tour Stop.
Inscription. “Regular Army wiseacres said it was not feasible – that I could not carry the ventilation that distance without digging a hole to the surface… But I have succeeded.”
- Lt. Col. Henry Pleasants, 48th Pennsylvania July 23, 1864

The most serious problem that faced Lt. Col. Pleasants was getting fresh air to the men working in the tunnel. He came up with a solution commonly used in the Pennsylvania coal mines.

One hundred feet into the mine, Pleasants’s men dug a vertical ventilation shaft – the remains of which are in front of you. They then placed an airtight canvas door across the mine opening and ran a wooden duct the length of the mine to the forward end of the chamber. The fire that burned continuously at the ventilation shaft drew stale air out of the mine; fresh air was drawn through the duct to the men working at the head of the tunnel.
 
Erected by Petersburg National Battlefield - National Park Service - Dept. of the Interior.
 
Location. 37° 13.149′ N, 77° 22.587′ W. Marker is in Petersburg, Virginia. Marker can be reached from Siege Road, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in Petersburg National Battlefield. It is located on
Marker on the Trail to the Crater image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
2. Marker on the Trail to the Crater
The marker is on the trail from the Mine to the site of the Crater. The stairs in the background lead to the entrance to the Mine.
a walking trail that starts at Tour Stop 8. 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. Digging the Mine ( within shouting distance of this marker); The Crater ( about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); “A Stupendous Failure” ( about 400 feet away); Confederate Counterattack ( about 400 feet away); Crater of Mine ( about 400 feet away); Confederate Countermine ( about 400 feet away); South Carolina ( about 500 feet away); Mahone ( about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Petersburg.
 
More about this marker. The marker includes an illustration showing how the ventilation system worked, with the caption The air-tight partition (1) ensured that the fire (2) would draw air from the interior of the tunnel (3), thus drawing the stale air away from the workers. Fresh air drawn through the wooden duct (4) replaced the stale drawn out of the mine by the fire at the ventilation shaft.

On the left of the marker is a drawing of the shafts beneath the Confederate works. It has the caption Once beneath the Confederate works, the Federals dug lateral magazines, which they packed with 8,000 pound of gunpowder.

On
Entrance to the Mine image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
3. Entrance to the Mine
The mine entrance could not be seen from the Confederate lines.
the bottom of the marker is a scale drawing of the 511-foot-long tunnel.
 
Also see . . .
1. Crater. CWSAC Battle Summaries. (Submitted on April 13, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

2. National Park Service. National Park Service. (Submitted on April 13, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

3. The Siege of Petersburg. (Submitted on April 13, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Inside the Mine image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
4. Inside the Mine
A peek into the entrance of the mine shows what it looked line in July 1864.
Union Tunnel image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
5. Union Tunnel
Remains of the mine are visible on the side of the trail just past the marker.
Ventilation Shaft Illustration image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
6. Ventilation Shaft Illustration
This diagram from the marker displays how the ventilation shaft worked in the mine.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 13, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,120 times since then and 28 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on April 13, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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