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[215]

Fort Sedgwick.

Although the Union Fort Sedgwick before Petersburg was not as elaborate a piece of engineering as the bastioned Forts Wadsworth and Dushane, which commanded the Weldon Railroad, it was nevertheless an exceedingly well-constructed example of field-works. It had to be so in order to stand up against the vindictive fire of Fort Mahone. From this fastness the determined Confederates incessantly tried to render Sedgwick susceptible to assault, thus enabling them to break through and relieve the Army of Northern Virginia from its predicament. The Petersburg campaign was not exactly a formal siege, but the operations of two armies strongly entrenched, either of which at any moment was likely to strike a powerful blow at the other. An abatis, or entanglement, lies to the right in front of the thick earthworks with their revetments of gabions. The Confederates never dared to attempt to carry this huge field fort. They finally selected the far weaker Fort Stedman as the point for their last dash for liberty. Below is another section of the gabion entrenchments of Fort Sedgwick, heightened by sandbags. These fortifications, very effective when occupied and kept in repair, began to fade away under the weather, and the depredations of the residents of the locality in search of fire wood. A few years after the war hardly a vestige of them remained. Rainstorms had done more damage than the tons of Federal shells.

Fort Sedgwick, where the garrison held its ground

Sedgwick — gabions heightened by sand-bags


 

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