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View Diary: Touring Verdun (184 comments)

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  •  Petersburg, etc. (4+ / 0-)
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    Jay C, PrahaPartizan, devtob, mightymouse

    This is true. I live in Richmond, VA, and Petersburg (about 25 miles south of Richmond), was besieged for six months or so in a successful move to cut the Confederate capital's supply lines and end the war.

    As the campaign drew on, trenches extended on both sides west from Petersburg.  Some are still visible today, especially at a location called Pamplin crossroads.  Covered with grass and amongst trees now, those trenches look a lot like those at Verdun.  When I saw the photos in this post, Petersburg was the first thing I thought of.

    Cold Harbor looks almost sinister by comparison.  It was, as M'mouse said, a massacre of Union troops charging Confederates protected not by trenches, but low berm-like mounds.  The trees are the same size there, too, (it was farmland for some time after the battle). The land is flat.   Through the woods to this day run those low  earthworks, in straight lines.  So easy to imagine soldiers running across the field into the fire of Confederates safe behind their earthen barrier.  No Union artillery, apparently.

    The biggest difference at Petersburg over CH, other than trenches on both sides, was that the South had run out of troops, so the Union had only to lengthen its trenches until the Southern lines were thinly manned enough to punch through.  Having already bled the South white, Grant just stretched the line till it broke.

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