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 Posted: Fri Sep 19th, 2008 12:00 am
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pamc153PA
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You know, we talk about all sorts of things here, from post turtles to battle flags and everything in between, but here's one for you: howcome we never talk about the Siege of Petersburg? I know a siege may be kind of. . . slow. . . just ask Grant, he had a couple of them. . . but there WERE some things associated with Petersburg that have some merit for discussion, weren't there?

Or should I just log off and go to bed?

Pam



 Posted: Fri Sep 19th, 2008 12:29 am
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Mr Hess53
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Start withe the Crater??



 Posted: Fri Sep 19th, 2008 06:01 am
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susansweet
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Pam our speaker this month at Orange county Roundtable talked about the Breakthough battle at Petersburg.  He wrote a fictional book based on two brothers one fought for the north the other from the south.  His name is David Jones , the book is Two Brothers.  Outstanding book.  They were both wounded at Petersburg not far from each other . 

I have been to Petersburg twice now .  The first time I got there just as the park ranger started giving his tour of the Crater .  I was in awe of the presentation he gave.  The tunnel and the Crater , the mishaps , the change in who went first into the charge after the explosion .  Amazing story.

The last time I was there we went to some of the other sites besides those in the park itself.  The cemetery next to the park and around the town.

The first time I was in the area I visited Five Forks.  The ranger there must not get visitors very often as he stood in the doorway of the little visitors center and gave me a tour of the battlefield.  I was so new to the Civil War at that time I had no clue what I was seeing .  I need to get back there now .

I also want to visit Pamplin park and visit the site of the breakthough battle that David talked about in his talk. 

Susan



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 Posted: Fri Sep 19th, 2008 03:31 pm
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susansweet
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Wow , Bama that brings it close to home doesn't it.  Makes it very personal. 

Susan



 Posted: Fri Sep 19th, 2008 05:07 pm
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TimK
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When I was doing research for my Petersburg Campaign map, I absolutely fell in love with Petersburg and the surrounding areas. Residing in Colorado, I can't always gauge what is going on out east, but I have a hard time figuring out why the visitation isn't more for Petersburg than it is. Maybe people don't like to travel further south than Fredericksburg when doing a CW trip. I don't know.

Susan - I believe the cemetery you are talking about is the Blandford Church and Cemetery. It is fascinating. They have a small visitor center and do tours of both the church and cemetery. And of course, Pamplin Park is a wonderful place to spend at least a day. Petersburg is so much more than the crater, and the town is full of opportunities to study and enjoy history.

It sounds like I work for the Chamber of Commerce, but I really enjoyed all he learning I did there producing my map of the area. I would certainly recommend a visit, and then make sure to follow the CW Trails system to Appomattox.



 Posted: Fri Sep 19th, 2008 05:09 pm
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Scout
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I really don't know much about the last days. But I have to agree, susan, that the original plan (which had the experienced troops going around the crater to exploit the gap) would have had a great opportunity to hasten the war's conclusion.



 Posted: Fri Sep 19th, 2008 06:49 pm
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20th_Mass
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I would love to know more about Petersburg myself. There was the Crater but also Reams Station (which turned out to be a nightmare for the 2nd Corps), Deep Bottom and Jerusalem Plank Road and they never get talked about.

Tim K, I also live in Colorado and don't get to battlefields as much as I would like. Do you know where I could see your map of the Petersburg Campaign?

Coly



 Posted: Fri Sep 19th, 2008 06:54 pm
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javal1
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20th Mass -

For all of Tim's maps, see http://www.trailheadgraphics.com/ . 100% top notch!



 Posted: Fri Sep 19th, 2008 07:28 pm
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ole
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Perhaps a bit late, but shouldn't this discussion be moved to the "battles" forum?

ole



 Posted: Fri Sep 19th, 2008 07:38 pm
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susansweet
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Tim that is the Church.  We drove all over the cemetery although my friend's car bottomed out several times.   We visted the different graves .  I have trouble walking so we didn't do as much walking around as I would have liked.  We didn't get into the Church.  I am hoping another trip will allow me to do that as I hear there are Tiffany windows in the church. 

I love the town of Petersburg.  The first time I visited I spend some time in the old town .  I also went out to City Point and was lucky enough to visit with a woman and a young man who was portraying a house slave .  I was the only one out there for their presentation so had the chance to ask all kinds of questions.  The young man was a college student studying preservation .  His goal was to buy an old platation , restore it and live in it.  I wished him luck.  He was so valuable to talk to .  He has whole sections of the diary of the owner of the plantation there memorized.  a diary that is not published.  This young man really knew what was going on during the siege .  I feel lucky to have met him.

I should have had your map though Tim I got lost so many times on that trip .

Susan



 Posted: Fri Sep 19th, 2008 07:39 pm
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TimK
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20th Mass-

I'm actually on my way out east for some more research on another new map. I'm pretty excited.

For an image of the Petersburg map, click on the small map image next to the description and a small piece of the vicinity map should come up.

Pam - As I said before, Petersburg is so much more than "the Crater". And actually, I found it pretty exciting to study considering it was a siege. It wasn't a siege like Vicksburg - it felt more like a chess match as I went from battle site to battle site. I'm sure as people smarter than I am start to weigh in, you will find this a pretty amazing battle/area to learn about.



 Posted: Fri Sep 19th, 2008 07:44 pm
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susansweet
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Tim thanks so much for your wonderful maps .  I am going to have to get the Petersburg map .   What are you going to be doing research on this time when you go east?

Susan



 Posted: Fri Sep 19th, 2008 11:50 pm
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pamc153PA
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Just perusing some info about Petersburg, I realized I have my work cut out for me (that's not a complaint). I'm even more ignorant of the battles associated with it than I suspected, and there are some I've never even heard of. It does, indeed, seem like a chess match, Tim! Guess I'll be reading awhile.

One thing I find interesting about the Crater is that they actually decided to swap out the black troops who were supposed to rush in, with rather modern-day thinking about what might happen to them in the face of the Confederates, versus white troops. Too bad those sent in were so green it was like pigs to the slaughter. And still, I'm wondering, was the idea of blowing up the underground mine simply to break the Confederate line, or was there more to it?

Pam



 Posted: Sat Sep 20th, 2008 12:01 am
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javal1
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Good questions Pam. Wish I had an answer, but this thread was a stark reminder how litle I know about the batle. That seems to be a consensus. So if I may add a few more questions to yours -  why do so few people study this particular battle? Is it that sieges are just less "romantic" or "exciting" then straight-out batles? Or that many think it was too late in the war to change anything? Or maybe the strategic importance isn't well known or understood? Curious to hear opinions.



 Posted: Sat Sep 20th, 2008 12:07 am
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20th_Mass
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I believe that if General Ledlie had been with the troops and ordered them into the crater after the explosion instead of a bunch of soldiers standing around not doing anything we wouldn't even be discussing the black soldiers not being used.

I will be visiting my parents on the East coast and I may take a trip out to Petersburg and spend a day.

 



 Posted: Sat Sep 20th, 2008 12:17 am
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Captain Crow
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susansweet wrote: Tim that is the Church.  We drove all over the cemetery although my friend's car bottomed out several times.   We visted the different graves .  I have trouble walking so we didn't do as much walking around as I would have liked.  We didn't get into the Church.  I am hoping another trip will allow me to do that as I hear there are Tiffany windows in the church. 

I love the town of Petersburg.  The first time I visited I spend some time in the old town .  I also went out to City Point and was lucky enough to visit with a woman and a young man who was portraying a house slave .  I was the only one out there for their presentation so had the chance to ask all kinds of questions.  The young man was a college student studying preservation .  His goal was to buy an old platation , restore it and live in it.  I wished him luck.  He was so valuable to talk to .  He has whole sections of the diary of the owner of the plantation there memorized.  a diary that is not published.  This young man really knew what was going on during the siege .  I feel lucky to have met him.

I should have had your map though Tim I got lost so many times on that trip .

Susan
Some pics of Blandford Cemetary. click on the image below to view.




 Posted: Sat Sep 20th, 2008 02:02 am
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ole
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We look at the Crater because it's one of the most exciting slices of the Petersburg story. The whole thing is a tale of plodding and desperation -- Grant is plodding to increase his choke hold and Lee is desperate to get out of what he knows is a no-win situation.

Both hang on and both test each other's mettle constantly. Looking at it as a battle is, in some ways, more compelling than the Seven Days or Gettysburg.

It's well worth a thread in the Battles forum.

ole



 Posted: Sat Sep 20th, 2008 02:28 am
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The Iron Duke
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"why do so few people study this particular battle? Is it that sieges are just less "romantic" or "exciting" then straight-out batles? Or that many think it was too late in the war to change anything? Or maybe the strategic importance isn't well known or understood? Curious to hear opinions."

Trench warfare is a very depressing subject. Try Alistair Horne's The Price of Glory to see what I mean. It has none of the romanticism or glory of an open stand up fight. In other words, trench battles just aren't sexy.

Last edited on Sat Sep 20th, 2008 02:29 am by The Iron Duke



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 Posted: Sat Sep 20th, 2008 02:40 am
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ole
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It has none of the romanticism or glory of an open stand up fight. In other words, trench battles just aren't sexy.
And in that, Duke, I think you've captured the essence. The fight is exciting when both are fresh and standing. It get's dull when the action slows to an occasional scrap, however fierce. No glory in mud rassling.

Thanks.

ole



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