Petersburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
- 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
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 the bottom
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 •
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 1,126 times since then and 34 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.