• Gettysburg National Military Park


    National Military Park Pennsylvania

Event Details

  • 02/08/2014

    Battle of the Crater, Petersburg, VA.
    Location: Gettysburg NMP Museum and Visitor Center | Map Time: 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM Fee Information: Free of charge Contact Name: Gettysburg National Military Park Contact Phone Number: (717) 334-1124, ext. 8023

The Civil War in 1864
Gettysburg National Military Park Mid-Winter Lecture Series 2014

Today's Program: "The Saddest Affair of the War"- The Battle of the Crater, with John Hoptak.

Few other single-day battles of the American Civil War have captured as much attention as the July 30, 1864, Battle of the Crater. On that Saturday and after weeks of preparation, soldiers of the 48th Pennsylvania exploded a mine underneath the Confederate defensive line just east of the city of Petersburg and in so doing presented a golden opportunity for the Union brass to break the siege at Petersburg and perhaps bring an end to the war. But after so remarkable a feat in tunneling under the Confederate lines and in exploding the mine, the resulting attack was a complete and tragic disaster for Federal arms. The fighting that ensued in the Crater between the Union 9th Corps and the soldiers of William Mahone's Confederate Division was severe, savage, and costly. The battle also witnessed the first large-scale involvement of black troops in the war's Eastern Theatre. In the end, the battle resulted in a resounding defeat for the Union and a victory for the Confederates--their last major victory of the war--with total casualties exceeding 5,000 men. Afterward, there was much finger-pointing and blame in an affair that brought out the worst in the Union high command, revealing prejudice, bias, and jealousy at the the highest levels of command.

This series of free, one-hour programs begins at 1:30 p.m. in one of the theaters at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. Additional lectures will take place on weekends through March 9 and are free of charge. Full schedule available by calling 717-334-1124 x 8023 or by visiting www.nps.gov/gett

More »