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Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/28

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20 Southern Historical Society Papers.

The position thus established, and the works destined to be held for more than six months against every odd, had their beginning in the slight and temporary obstructions thrown up by the Confederate soldiers in a night to enable a feeble force to resist the expected as- sault of a superior force the next morning.

These slight obstructions were strengthened from day to day and the advance on Petersburg degenerated into the slow and tedious process called the siege of Petersburg.

The Federal works consisted of a front line of earth redoubts or forts at short intervals connected by a chain of earthen breastworks.

One of these forts was located on the right bank of the Appo- mattox river, and another between the river and the City Point rail- road, called " Fort McGilvery," one in the "New Market" race- field, just south of that railroad and of the Prince George Courthouse road, which runs for a few hundred yards alongside the railroad, called " Battery No. 9," one at Hare's Hill called " Fort Stedman," one further south called "Fort Haskell," and one opposite the Crater called " Fort Morton." Further south was " Fort Meikel," and next to Fort Meikel immediately upon the Jerusalem plank road was " Fort Sedgwick."

These forts, or redoubts, were much stronger and more formi- dable than the lines of breastworks which connected them, and were so constructed as to present a hostile front on all sides. At intervals along these breastworks were smaller (unenclosed) fortifications, lunettes. Three of these lunettes were very near Fort Stedman Battery No. 10, immediately to the north, Batteries Nos. n and 12 just south of it.

These forts were filled with artillery and infantry, and so arranged that the fire from the guns of one would sweep not only over the ground in its immediate front, but in front of the breastworks and the neighboring forts to the right and to the left; so that an attack- ing force would have to face not only a direct fire from infantry and artillery, but the concentrated fire from the artillery of at least three forts.

In the rear of this first line, on the hills beyond Harrison's creek, the Federals had a second line, very much like the first, and so con- structed that the forts in this line commanded the forts and breast- works composing the first line. This was the original line of the Confederates, east of Petersburg, that captured by the Eighteenth Corps under General W. F. Smith on the evening of June 15, 1864. Among the forts on this line was Battery 4, formerly Confederate