"When we moved toward Five Forks?we were not expecting any attack that afternoon, so far as I know. Our throwing up works and taking position were simply general matters of military precaution."
- Major General Fitzhugh Lee, CSA
You are standing on the left (east) flank of the Confederate line at Five Forks. Here the earthworks turned abruptly northward, forming an angle. Few of the 1,000 North Carolinians gathered behind these trenches on the afternoon of April 1, 1865, expected an attack. Neither did their commander, Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett, who had retired to the rear for a lunch of shad.
At 4:15 p.m., Maj. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren's Union Fifth Corps swarmed across what were open fields to your right. While two Federal divisions moved too far north and missed the Confederate line altogether, one division of 3,100 men struck the Confederates here. Brig. Gen. Matthew Ransom's North Carolina brigade resisted fiercely. Both the Federals rolled forward and vaulted the works. The Confederate line collapsed.
The Union success at the Angle initiated the destruction of Pickett's division - a disaster for Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.