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On Saturday, February 17, Petersburg National Battlefield will offer a two-hour auto caravan and walking tour highlighting the role of United States Colored Troop regiments at the Battle of the Crater. The program, conducted by Park Ranger Grant Gates, will begin at 10:00 am at the Eastern Front Unit Visitor Center.About United States Colored Troops at the Battle of the Crater:
In early July, 1864, Major General Ambrose Burnside planned an attack to be led by a division within his IX Corps consisting of United States Colored Troops. The attack would follow the explosion of gunpowder beneath the Confederate earthworks just east of Petersburg. Due to interference by his superior, General George Meade, the black soldiers were the last to advance. These troops had a strong desire to be used in their own efforts to secure emancipation and to be considered citizens. The battle turned into a fiasco for the Union in what would become the most famous battle of the Petersburg Campaign.
On Sunday, February 18, Petersburg National Battlefield will host a lecture focusing on the role of cavalry in the April 1, 1865 Battle of Five Forks. The free lecture will begin at 2:00 pm in the Five Forks Visitor Contact Station located at 9840 Courthouse Road in Dinwiddie.
About the Battle of Five Forks
In late March of 1865, Union troops were determined to break the Siege of Petersburg. In order to succeed, the Northerners had to gain control of the last two supply lines feeding both Confederate soldiers and citizens in the city. By April 1, 1865 only one line remained; the South Side Railroad. On that day, all that stood between Union General Philip Sheridan’s cavalry and General Gouvernor Warren’s V Corps, were 9,000 Confederates under the command of General George Pickett. The events of April 1 would help to determine the fate of the Confederacy.
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