Author: Emmanuel Dabney

a park ranger at the Petersburg National Battlefield

Dimmock Line, The

The Dimmock Line was a series of fifty-five artillery batteries and connected infantry earthworks that were constructed between 1862 and 1864 in a ten-mile arc around Petersburg during the American Civil War (1861–1865). The earthen fortifications were built using Confederate soldiers and enslaved laborers and covered lands east, south, and west of Petersburg. They were constructed to protect the city’s industry and railroads in the event that Petersburg was attacked. Union troops finally attacked Petersburg directly and elements of the Dimmock Line fell to them in mid-June 1864, which began the Petersburg Campaign.


City Point during the Civil War

City Point (now Hopewell), located in central Virginia at the confluence of the James and Appomattox rivers, was the site of Union general-in-chief Ulysses S. Grant‘s field headquarters during the Petersburg Campaign at the end of the American Civil War (1861–1865). Founded in 1613 and incorporated as a town in 1826, City Point was a tiny, out-of-the-way place before the war, with few homes or businesses. But once the Union Army of the Potomac fought its way south to Petersburg late in the spring of 1864, City Point became a crucial Union port and supply hub. At least 100,000 Union troops and 65,000 animals were supplied out of the town, and in August 1864, a member of the Confederate Secret Service detonated a time bomb on a docked barge, hoping to disrupt work at the port. As many as fifty-eight people were killed, but the wharf was soon rebuilt and service to the front continued. City Point also was the site of the sprawling Depot Field Hospital, which served 29,000 patients. After the war, the United States government established City Point National Cemetery, and in 1983, the National Park Service reconstructed a cabin that had served as General Grant’s headquarters on its original location.