Wednesday, August 17, 2011

147th Anniversary of the Battle of the Crater, a Memorable Experience

Led by NPS interpreter Emmanuel Dabney, James Macdonald and I thoroughly enjoyed a highly engaging and interactive tour of the “Battle of the Crater” on Saturday, January 30, 2011. Ranger Dabney described the events leading to the decision to use an underground mine to break through the Confederate line east of Petersburg. Highly experienced reenactors added historical references from both the Federal and Confederate force perspectives. The role of African-American troops and the critical decisions made by the Federal officers impacting the outcome were reviewed. Demonstrations of cannon fire, musket fire and drill were incorporated into the presentation. Interpreter Dabney conveyed the role of General Mahone in rallying the Confederate troops to counter-attack and save Peterseburg from Federal forces.  Most engaging were reenactors from the 12th Virginia regiment, who were most willing to discuss their perspectives, experiences and share their connection with the American Civil War. We thank them for adding to our understanding of this complex historical event and would certainly suggest that travelers visit the Petersburg National Battlefield as a part of a holiday.

Don Cassidy
Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada