Confederate Fortifications Outside Petersburg
Original Author: Unknown
Created: 1865 April 3
Medium: Wet collodion glass-plate negative
Publisher: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

Confederate Fortifications Outside Petersburg

Elaborate Confederate fortifications like this one ringed Petersburg during the nearly ten-month siege of the city. Confederate troops initially occupied a set of entrenchments known as the Dimmock Line, which had been constructed in 1863. When Union general Ulysses S. Grant crossed the James River to attack Petersburg, he stretched his own lines westward, forcing an expansion of Confederate earthworks. Over the course of the siege, fortifications became increasingly complex.

This photograph likely shows where soldiers manning the lines lived, rather than where they fought on the front lines. The entrance on the right of the frame leads to a dugout, to protect against artillery fire. The structure in the middle left of the photograph is a chimney or stove, the clay of the ground forming the hearth, while the barrel on top channels the smoke out of the area. This photograph was taken by a Union photographer after the fall of Petersburg on April 2, 1865.