Human nature will not change. In any future great national trial, compared with the men of this, we shall have as weak and as strong, as silly and as wise, as bad and as good. Let us therefore study the incidents in this as philosophy to learn wisdom from and none of them as wrongs to be avenged.
~ Abraham Lincoln, November 10, 1864
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Assault of Fort Mahone / "Fort Damnation", April 1, 1865
Dead Confederate Boy, Fort Mahone
On April 1, 1865, Union General John Parke chose to assault Fort Mahone.
Fort Mahone was named for Confederate General William Mahone and was one of the primary defenses outside of Petersburg, Virginia.
The Union troops nicknamed it "Fort Damnation."
The forts surrounding Richmond and Petersburg managed to keep the Union army at bay for months. At the end of March 1865, it was clear that Lee’s hold on Richmond and Petersburg had weakened. With the complete disintegration of the Confederate army around Petersburg, Virginia, just hours away, Parke sent word to General George Meade for reinforcements to hold his current position.
The breakthrough at Petersburg ended the siege and began Lee's retreat to the west, where he hoped to obtain supplies and link up with General Joseph E. Johnston's army in North Carolina.
Photographer T. C. Roche, working for the E. & H. T. Anthony Co, took the final series of photos of war casualties at Fort Mahone the morning after it was stormed by Union troops.
On April 3, 1865, Richmond, now uncovered by Lee's army, fell to Union forces. The major objective of the war since 1861 had finally been achieved.
A week later General Robert E. Lee would surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House.