'Crater, Confederate Lines, Petersburg Virginia', USA, 1867.
3 0 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 22cm

'Crater, Confederate Lines, Petersburg Virginia', USA, 1867.

© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Albumen print of a group of tourists inspecting Confederate Army fortifications outside Petersburg. Only two years after the American Civil War ended, its battlefields had become tourist destinations. Here, guides show well-dressed visitors around the Confederate outer defences or picket line. Union troops besieged Petersburg for over nine months in the longest siege of the war. When Union general Ulysses S Grant failed to capture Richmond, the Confederate capital in 1864, he surrounded Petersburg in an attempt to cut the rebel supply lines. The Confederate general Robert E Lee finally evacuated the town on 2 April 1865, leaving it to be captured by Union forces. Over half a million soldiers were killed in what was America's bloodiest war.

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