Plate 84. View of the Interior of Fort Steadman

Text and photograph from Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War, Vol. II. Negative by Timothy H. O'Sullivan, text and positive by Alexander Gardner.
This fort is constructed on the ground known as "Hare's Hill." The position was taken by Gibbons' Division of the Second Corps during a general assault on the 17th of June, 1864. It was one of the most advanced positions of the Union troops during the entire siege of Petersburg. At this point the main lines of the two armies were opposed to each other from the above date to the evacuation on the morning of the 3d of April, 1865. The distance between the two was not over six hundred feet, and between the respective picket lines not more than two hundred. It was the scene of attack by Gordon's Division of the rebel army on the 25th of March, and the Fort temporarily held for a few hours. The enemy, however, was compelled to retire in consequence of the heavy artillery fire on both flanks and from the rear, and by a well-directed attack of Hartranft's Division of the Ninth Corps. This assault was really the initiative movement of the campaign by the Army of Northern Virginia, which ended in its surrender on the 9th of April, 1865. The centre of the picture shows the parapet of the work and the manner in which the earth composing it is reveted or supported by the trunks of pines placed horizontally, then, by gabions and fascines, topped by sand bags. On the left the picture shows the exterior of an officers' quarters, and on the right a mound of earth, forming the outside covering of a powder magazine. The trees bear many marks of the compliments paid by the enemy during the almost daily severe artillery duels which took place between the two opposing armies during the long siege. It will be seen, too, that the embrasures are guarded by heavy iron gates to protect the gunners from the deadly aim of the enemy's sharpshooters. Matelots, made of rope, are frequently used for the same purpose.
In front of Fort Steadman lies Colquitt's salient of the enemy's line, a point worthy the attention of the tourist. The suburban regions occupied by his troops is well deserving of an inspection. One of the notable occurrences of the day on which the assault on Fort Stedman took place on the right, and whilst at the same time a demonstration on the left was being made, the President of the United States reviewed a portion of the Army of the Potomac between the two hostile flanks.
Currently not on view
Object Name
albumen photograph
date made
Gardner, Alexander
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 17.2509 cm x 22.4366 cm; 6 13/16 in x 8 13/16 in
place made
United States: Virginia, Petersburg
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Gardner's Sketchbook
Civil War
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Gardner's Sketchbook
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
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