The Battle of Reams Station

The Battle of Reams Station (HM8Y6)

Location: Petersburg, VA 23805
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 5.839', W 77° 25.282'

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The Exposed Position of the Federal Artillery

The first field fortifications were built at Reams Station on July 1, 1864 by soldiers of the Union Sixth Corps while tearing up the railroad following the return of the ill-fated Wilson-Kautz cavalry raid. Hastily thrown up, the works were "L" shaped with the small arm of the "L" running north-south along the Petersburg (& Weldon) Railroad and the other face angled northwest.

Whe Federal soldiers arrived at the works on August 23rd they found that the trenches had been ravaged by weather. Rain had eroded the sides and water stood in the ditch that ran along the inside of the earthworks. In the center of the works the Depot Road ran through an opening ten yards wide. Northeast of that opening, the rail line ran though a deep cut behind the trench with walls as high as thirteen feet in some places. The artillery the Federals placed west of the railroad had to be moved there by hand - there was no room to maneuver horses or limbers - which meant that the cannons and ammunition could not be easily moved if the position were to be overrun. Union soldiers also built a new line that faced south and joined the small end of the existing works, changing the "L" shape to a "U".

Union Major General Andrew Humphreys described it: "The intrenchments at Ream's Station were slight... They ran along the railroad about twelve hundred yards, having a return about eight hundred or one thousand yards long at each end, the returns being at nearly right angles with the railroad. The direction of the returns subjected the troops in them to a reverse artillery fire."

The field works did their job for the first two Confederate assaults but then the third attack found the opening where the road-entered the northwest corner of the works ahead of you; it doomed the Federal soldiers trying to defend their unsupported position.
HM NumberHM8Y6
Series This marker is part of the Battlefield Trails - Civil War series
Placed ByCivil War Preservation Trust
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, October 9th, 2014 at 10:14pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 284813 N 4108411
Decimal Degrees37.09731667, -77.42136667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 5.839', W 77° 25.282'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 5' 50.34" N, 77° 25' 16.92" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)804, 434
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 3100-3176 State Rte 604, Petersburg VA 23805, US
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