Thursday, April 02, 2015

150 years ago today: The beginning of the end

It was on this day 150 years ago, April 2, 1865, that Union forces made their way through the Confederate battle lines, thereby ending the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia that had been going on since June of 1864.

The unfortunate soul you see on the right was one of the many Confederate soldiers killed that day, along with numerous Union soldiers as well.

Once the Confederates under General Robert E. Lee were forced to vacate Petersburg, they began to retreat westward in hopes of resupply.  A week later, the 30,000 or so bedraggled Confederate soldiers who comprised the once 75,000-strong Army of Northern Virginia were forced to surrender to Ulysses S. Grant, who had taken over command of all Union forces the year before.

The photo shown above has always haunted me as I know that this young man died with only a week left in the war.  Many more would die before that week was over.