Daily Archives: November 21, 2014

On the Road Again

Two sentences from History of the Fourteenth Regiment, Connecticut Vol. Infantry by Charles D. Page told me almost nothing. I was trying to piece together what the men had been up to since they withdrew from the Boydton Plank Road affair at the end of October. Page wrote:

“The regiment was moved to Fort McGilvery in front of Petersburg. Here it remained until November 29th, when they were ordered to be ready to move in the direction of Fort Bross.”

Two more forts in the Union siege lines that I had never heard of before, and the only clue was that McGilvery was “in front of Petersburg.” All of the forts south of the Appomattox River were in front of Petersburg. So, it was back to the Library of Congress Digital Maps Collection to see if any of the many maps of the Petersburg fortifications showed either of these forts. As you can see from the map below, my search was successful.

Petersburg Forts-cropped-1Fort McGilvery was located on the east side of Petersburg between the City Point Railroad and the Appomattox River. So after the Boydton Plank Road fight at the western end of the lines, the men of the Fourteenth Connecticut marched all the way around to the east end. Fort Bross was located beside the Norfolk & Petersburg Railroad to guard against any surprise attack from the rear. Click here to view the original digital map.

Sometimes, while following such a research rabbit trail, I run across something really interesting. The map was drawn just after the war by a Union officer for Jarratt’s Hotel, where “every attention is paid to visitors to render their stay agreeable and interesting.” The Petersburg hotel published a booklet for its guests that included the map, a history of the siege, a field guide for visiting the battlefield, and advertisements for local businesses. You can download a PDF of this unique booklet free of charge at A Guide to the Fortifications and Battlefields Around Petersburg. I highly recommend it.