Fort Conahey

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Fort Conahey (1864-1865) - A Union U.S. Civil War Fort established in 1864 near Petersburg in Dinwiddie County, Virginia. Named Fort Conahey after 2nd Lieutenant John Conahey, 118th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, who was killed at the Battle of Peebles Farm on 30 Sep 1864. Abandoned in 1865 at the end of the war.

Fort Conahey Earthworks Remains
Fort Conahey NPS Interpretive Panel
Fort Conahey Interior Sketch Illustrating the two levels and the central Palisade, from the On-site NPS Panel.

History of Fort Conahey

The Union seige operations against the Confederate lines around Petersburg began in June 1864 as Confederate forces fell back to a defensive line around the city. Union forces began to build a continuous seige line around the Confederate lines capturing new ground to complete the encirclement. Fortifications included earthworks forts, gun batteries and entrenchments that allowed the Union forces to place "one man per yard" along the ever lengthening line.

Fort Urmston was established 3 Oct 1864 and completed 26 Oct 1864. Situated in the "Fish Hook" section of the Union siege line between Fort Fisher to the west and Fort Urmston to the east with entrenchments connecting them. Built as a bi-level ovoid redoubt with positions for eleven field mounted guns distributed as follows:

  • 3 Mounted en-barbette
  • 4 Mounted with embrasures
  • 4 Mounted in enclosed casemates (lower level)

The outer ditch perimeter was 636.5 feet enclosing 0.6 acres. The interior fort included two tiers of guns, four sturdy wooden casemates, and a rarely seen interior palisade that acted like a traverse. Located a mile from Confederate lines, Fort Conahey rarely came under fire from the Confederates and was never directly attacked. The garrison was prescribed as 75 men.

Fort Conahey NPS Plan
Fort Conahey NPS List

At the completion of Fort Tracy in January 1865 the Union line around Petersburg was 32 miles in length, with some 36 forts and 50 gun batteries.

With the general advance of Union troops on 2 Apr 1865 toward Petersburg, the Confederate line was broken and overnight General Robert E. Lee withdrew his troops from Petersburg ending the seige on 3 Apr 1865. The whole of the Union army followed Lee toward Appomattox and in a series of actions that rendered escape impossible, Lee was forced to surrender on 9 Apr 1865. The seige line fortifications around Petersburg were effectively abandoned on or about 3 Apr 1865, some 9 months after the siege began and 6 days before the end of the war.

Current Status

Part of the Petersburg National Battlefield. In poor condition, details blurred and obscured. The casemated guns positions and magazine were buried by the collapse of the upper level some years ago.


Location: Along Flank Road near Petersburg, Dinwiddie County, Virginia.

Maps & Images

Lat: 37.17333 Long: -77.4477

See Also:

Sources:

Links:

Visited: 2 Apr 2012


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