03 March 2008 by Published in: Union Cavalry 8 comments

These are sixteen photos from my trip this past weekend. This first batch are from the battlefield at Five Forks.

This photo was taken at the right end of the Union line at Five Forks, where the Union cavalry hit the Confederate line.

This photo shows the Confederate trenches extending back into the woods at the angle of the Confederate line, where part of it bent back to refuse the flank. It’s not easy to see them clearly, but they’re there. They’re on the left side of the photo, and snake back into the woods.

This is the monument to the Battle of Five Forks, which is located at the intersection where the five roads come together.

This is the position where Col. Willie Pegram’s guns were, and where Pegram received his mortal wound. Behind the gun is the old visitor center at Five Forks. It’s an old gas station and is obviously not a historic structure. On March 26, ground will be broken to build a new visitor center for Five Forks, and once it’s done, this thing will be torn down.

This is far end of the Confederate line at Five Forks, where Fitz Lee’s cavalry was routed. Look at those open fields, perfect for mounted operations.

I also stopped at the Sutherland’s Station battlefield on my way back toward Petersburg. I’d never seen it before. Sutherland’s Station was fought on April 2, 1865 and marks the final cutting of the Southside Railroad by the Union army. These are two historical interpretive markers there.

This is a monument to the Confederate forces who fought at Sutherland’s Station.

This is the small marker on the spot where Lt. Gen. A. P. Hill received his mortal wound. It’s near Pamplin Park, behind a subdivision. I don’t think many people visit the spot.

This is from Thursday afternoon, although we visited this spot on Saturday. Bobby Krick took me here. These earthworks represent a small surviving section of the outer ring of defenses of Richmond. These works were briefly occupied by Judson Kilpatrick on March 1, 1864 and by Phil Sheridan on May 12, 1864. Both ultimately decided that they could not carry the intermediate line of works.

This lovely home is called Rose Hill. It’s at Stevensburg, VA, and served as Judson Kilpatrick’s headquarters during the winter encampment of 1863-1864. We had a tour of the home. The fellow in the brown jacket is my old friend Horace Mewborn, who is pretty much THE authority on Mosby’s Rangers.

Our tour leader, Dr. Bruce Venter, THE authority on the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid, holding court on Friday.

This is a nifty little monument to a trooper of the 4th Virginia Cavalry named Pvt. James Pleasants, who captured 13 men and killed one after being roused by Dahlgren’s raiders as they passed through Goochland County on March 1, 1864.

This is the James River in Goochland County. Dahlgren tried to cross here (it’s usually fordable), but when Dahlgren’s column came through, the river was at freshet and could not be forded. Dahlgren tried again about three miles further downriver and failed a second time.

This was Benjamin Greene’s farm in the Westhampton section of Richmond. This spot marks the focus of the battle between Dahlgren’s men and the defense forces of Richmond that occurred late in the afternoon of March 1, 1864. We were there at about the same time as the battle, so we were able to get a real sense of what it was like as the fighting raged. The house then served as a hospital. We were permitted into this gorgeous old house, and it’s quite a place to see.

This is Beaver Dam Station on the Virginia Central Railroad. Kilpatrick burned it during the raid, and Custer did so again during the May Richmond Raid. It was a popular spot.

This is the Virginia historical marker at the site where Ulric Dahlgren was ambushed and killed. It’s pretty much self-explanatory, although it’s not entirely accurate. Dahlgren was killed between 10 and 11 at night on March 2, not in the early morning hours, and he was killed pretty much at the site of the marker, and not a couple of hundred yards away, as the marker indicates. Our visit to the ambush site pretty much marked our final stop of the tour.

I took a few more photos, but these ought to give you a taste of the trip. It was a very good but exhausting time. We covered nearly 375 miles in the bus, and saw an awful lot. We spent nearly two full days touring and seeing the sites. I’m glad that I went, as I came away from the tour wit a lot of different insights and perspectives on things that have subsequently made their way into the manuscript.

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Comments

  1. Tue 04th Mar 2008 at 1:05 am

    I’m glad to hear about the new Five Forks visitor center. The current structure used to be a gas station and has no facilities except for the portable structure out back. I should know – I spent a summer working in it (the building, not the toilet).

  2. Rick Allen
    Tue 04th Mar 2008 at 6:48 am

    Sounds (and looks) like a great trip Eric. Thanks for passing along the recap

    Rick

  3. Tue 04th Mar 2008 at 9:09 am

    Where’s the money coming from for the new 5Forks visitor center? (Enjoyed reading about the trip and seeing the pics!)

  4. Tue 04th Mar 2008 at 9:20 am

    Rick,

    It was. And you’re welcome.

    Eric

  5. Tue 04th Mar 2008 at 9:20 am

    Jack,

    My understanding is that Congress appropriated the funds for it.

    Eric

  6. Tue 04th Mar 2008 at 9:49 am

    Good photos. My last trip to Five Forks was in the late 1990s. I thought the old gas station was on its last legs then. Perhaps instead of scrapping, it should be on the NRHP! I’m sure something of note happened there – you know Washington slept there, Lafayette sang to the ladies, or Lee tethered Traveler in the vicinity….

    I would like to see more interpretation of the site of Pickett’s Shad Bake, though.

    On a serious note, I’ve got the Petersburg/Five Forks/Lee’s Retreat route on my list of areas to cover this summer with regard to marker documentation. If I ever get finished with Antietam, that is….

  7. Geoff
    Sat 10th May 2008 at 1:53 pm

    I have been down three chopt before, but where and how do I find Ben Green’s farm to visit?

  8. Mon 30th Mar 2009 at 2:52 am

    Eric,
    My ancestor was on the Kilpatrick – Dahlgren Raid, with the 3rd US artillery, Light Battery C. Unfortunately, I don’t have any other information on him for this action.
    I have his diary of 1863, some of which I shared with Ted Alexander a few years ago in 2005. I also have his muster out papers, and some photographs. On the back of the muster out papers he wrote all the engagements he was in with the artillery. It is signed by Dunbar Ransom.
    I read Duane Schultz’s book on the raid, but am very interested in the controversy over the Dahlgren Papers.

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