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The Breakthrough at Petersburg, April 2, 1865

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The Breakthrough at Petersburg, April 2, 1865
The Breakthrough at Petersburg, April 2, 1865

Civil War Trust's map of the Breakthrough at Petersburg

Following the Union success at Five Forks on April 1, Grant and Meade determined to make a frontal assault on Lee's defenses at Petersburg with four corps of infantry.  In the predawn hours of April 2, Gen. Horatio Wright's Sixth corps crept out of their trenches and charged across no-man's land, punching a hole in the Confederate line.  In the confusion following the breakthrough, Confederate Gen. A.P. Hill was killed trying to reach his troops.  Elements of the Second and Ninth corps made similar assaults elsewhere along the siege line.  A handful of Confederates at Fort Gregg staved off the Union Twenty-fourth corps' assault, preventing the Federals from entering the city that night.  But the Federals' main objective—breaking the Confederate line—had been achieved.  When nightfall put an end to the fighting, Lee ordered the evacuation of Petersburg and Richmond. After 292 days of siege warfare, Grant had captured Petersburg, and caused the fall of the capitol of the Confederacy.

Learn More: The Breakthrough at Petersburg