The Battle of the Crater (120 words)

Historical Context Note

Context

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On the 30th of July, 1864 the Union Army attacked a Confederate stronghold in Petersburg, Virginia, by planting explosives under the troops. A long tunnel had been dug over several weeks by the Unionists and then packed with gunpowder which exploded with considerable force, creating a crater 9m deep and 52m long. Though over 250 confederate soldiers were killed in the blast, Union troops failed to take advantage of the explosive attack and quickly fell into disarray as they charged. The Unionists suffered a large number of fatalities and causalities as the Confederates launched a counterattack. Petersburg was strategically important because its railroad gave the Confederates access to supplies from Virginia, and they managed to hold …


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  1. American Civil War