02543 - Dead Confederate Soldier; Fort Mahone, Petersburg, VA; April 1865 [LC-DIG-cwpb-02543]
By April of 1865, it was clear that the Union was close to winning the war. To achieve this goal, it would be necessary to capture both Petersburg and Richmond. The forts that surrounded these cities had been successful in keeping the Union at bay for months and repeated attempts to overtake the positions had been futile.
By April 1st, most of the fighting had taken place West of Petersburg, leaving forts in the East, like Mahone, vulnerable. Union General John Parke chose to attack Fort Mahone directly and was able to take the fort quickly. General Meade asked Parke to hold his position until reinforcements could arrive.
The South planned a counter attack under John Gordon. The Confederates attempted to retake the fort but it was too late. With their army quickly disintegrating and with the Union forces arrival, the counter offensive was abandoned and within hours the Confederates would abandon both Richmond and Petersburg.