Saturday, 23 July 2016

American Adventure day ten : Petersburg to Colonial Williamsburg

Three more days which I need to post now.......

If I am honest whilst the history was great Richmond wasn't the nicest of places to stay, basically a big city so I moved down to Petersburg......which wasn't much better. But it meant it was really easy to visit the predominantly siege based battlefield where Grant made his final push towards the Confederate capital at Richmond just 20 or so miles north.

It is quite a big area which saw fighting over a 9 month period and one of the most desparate and sad events of the whole war at the infamous crater.

FAmous but apparently ineffective mortar (replica) known as the Dictator which fired a couple of hundred shells at Petersburg
Possibly the best collection of cannons I have seen anywhere if you want to know your cannons this is the place to visit😀

Plenty of locations around the site where they have pictures taken at the point where you are standing I particularly like, this as they give a real feel for the ground, obviously more taken here as the battle was predominantly a siege with massive fixed earth defences on both sides.

One of the batteries has been reconstructed and give a great feel for what the others would have looked like......
Fort Steadman scene of one of the last Rebel counterattacks, the fort was taken and then recaptured with much fighting and loss of life.
A quiet and sad spot the crater, just to the right in the pictures looks slightly innocuous but I found it quite a sad place. I can remember which film it is but I know this has been dramatised.
For those that don't know Pennsylvanian miners on the Union side dug a 500 m tunnel under the Rebel lines and blew the fortifications up, just as the Brits and Germans would do 50 or so years later. Here in a classic mess up the Union soldiers rushed forward into the crater only to find they could really get out many were slaughter including many newly recruited Black Soldiers, Petersburg being one of the first location they saw action. As the story goes some of the Union troops to save themselves from retribution from the Rebels turned on their own Black troops.......a sad place indeed.

So then I needed a route to get me to Williamsburg where I was planning to stay the night, this took me to the Battlefield at Malvern Hill. A much earlier campaign 1862 I think. Accordingly to the blurb one of the most completely preserved battlefields anywhere, mainly due to the relatively small scale and geographical limitations on the field.
The Union gun line this time drawn up in a defensive position, with open fields in front and excellent fields of fire.
From the other end of the battlefield the Main confederate gun line, whilst Lee is regarded one of the best Generals of the time this was not a master piece, his strategy to pound with guns and then send waves of infantry to attack front on the Union held ridge line. It didn't work.

FInally to Williamsbrug, this is a very popular destination for Americans with Jamestown and Yorktown close by, there are a mix of traditional historical attractions together with amusement park etc. The Williamsburg Colonial Village is very pleasant for and evening stroll......where period buildings have been kept, some renovated and anything new removed, this gives I guess a very close representation of a 1750-1780's town and it is well done, loads of people in costume. As it happened I arrived just when Washington was testing/drilling his troops for the crowd. I didn't shout out God Save the King ! It may not have been well received.


  1. Excellent photos again Matt! I am really looking forward to spending some more time in that part of the world.

    1. Thanks for following ....... The area is highly recommended😀

  2. Another tremendous well kept battlefield and monument. I think it was portrayed at the start of 'Return to Cold Mountain'.

    1. I knew I had seen it but couldn't remember the film.😀