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"A Strange Sort of Warfare Underground": Mines and Countermines on the Petersburg Front, 1864

Author(s): Julia Steele ; David Lowe ; Philip Shiman

Year: 2016

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Petersburg, Virginia, is known for the mine explosion that destroyed a Confederate fort and initiated the Battle of the Crater.  This was not the only mining effort on the siege line.  Even before the July 30, 1864, explosion, the Confederate defenders of Petersburg constructed countermines in places where the terrain was susceptible to underground enemy approaches.  The use of LIDAR imagery, map and photographic analysis, documentary research and field survey has revealed two extensive sets of underground tunnels within Petersburg National Battlefield.  The Confederates actually detonated explosives in one set of tunnels and created "craters" that are still evident on the landscape. Fresh analysis of the tunnels and associated military features allows a better understanding of the fierce struggles along the seemingly static front and the array of measures, including sharpshooting, sapping, land mines, grenades and water obstacles, used to counter and outwit the enemy.

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"A Strange Sort of Warfare Underground": Mines and Countermines on the Petersburg Front, 1864. Julia Steele, David Lowe, Philip Shiman. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434464)


Civil War LiDAR Mines

Geographic Keywords
North America United States of America

Temporal Keywords
Civil War

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 85

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America