The Banks House
— Pamplin Historical Park —
Following their breakthrough near the Boisseau and Hart Farms, Federal soldiers of Major General Horatio G. Wright's Sixth Corps poured over the earthworks southwest of Petersburg and into the Confederate rear. Some Federals penetrated as far as a mile behind the Confederate lines tearing up the tracks of the South Side Railroad. By 6:00 a.m., the Sixth Corps regrouped to exploit its success.
1. The Death of A. P. Hill (6:30 A.M. - 6:45 A.M.)
When word arrived of the Breakthrough, Lieutenant General Ambrose Powell Hill rode to the front to assess the situation. Between 6:30 and 6:45 a.m., Hill and a single aide encountered two Union soldiers in a grove of trees west of the Boydton Plank Road. Hill called for their surrender and charged forward. The Federals opened fire, killing the General instantly. Informed of Hill's death, General Lee remarked, "he is at rest now and we who are left are the ones to suffer."
2. The Sweep to Hatcher's Run (6:30 A.M. - 9:00 A.M.)
Following the Breakthrough, the Sixth Corps turned its attention to dislodging the Confederates southwest of Petersburg. Confederate resistance was fierce but brief. Sixth Corps troops advanced as far as Hatcher's Run, nearly three miles to the southwest, where they were joined by the Federal Twenty-Fourth Corps. By 9:00 a.m. the Federals turned back toward Petersburg to attempt the capture of the city.
3. The Fall of "Edge Hill" (1:00 P.M. - 3:00 P.M.)
Advancing between Cox Road and the Appomattox River, the Sixth Corps encountered Confederate resistance in front of Lee's headquarters at "Edge Hill." Thirteen pieces of artillery repulsed the initial Union assault. Outflanked and unsupported, the Confederate artillery and the army commander eventually withdrew under severe pressure. "Edge Hill" burned shortly thereafter.
4. The Defense of Forts Gregg and Whitworth (1:00 P.M. - 3:00 P.M.)
Two Confederate forts, Gregg and Whitworth, and their 550 defenders, lay between Major General John Gibbon's Twenty-Fourth Corps and the last defenses of Petersburg. Gibbon sent two divisions, approximately 8,000 men, against the forts. A valiant Confederate defense delayed the Union advance for two hours, allowing Southern reinforcements to man the inner lines. After dark, General Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia abandoned Petersburg and the Confederate capital at Richmond. Appomattox Court House was a week away.