Fort Wheaton

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Fort Wheaton (1864-1865) - A U.S. Civil War Fort first established as Confederated Fort Archer in 1864 near Petersburg, Dinwiddie County, Virginia. Captured by Union forces on 30 Sep 1864 and renamed Fort Wheaton after Captain James Henry Wheaton, 1st Michigan Volunteer Infantry, killed at Peebles Farm on 30 Sep 1864. Abandoned in 1865 at the end of the war.

History of Fort Wheaton

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 Wheaton was originally established in August 1864 as Confederate Fort Archer. While still incomplete, it was captured by Union forces on 30 Sep 1864 during the battle of Peebles Farm. It was then renamed Fort Wheaton for Captain James Henry Wheaton, 1st Michigan Volunteer Infantry who was killed in that battle.

After capture, the fort was refaced by closing the original sallyport and creating a new one on the opposite face. Built as a six sided earthen redoubt with six field gun positions for guns mounted en barbette. The gun positions were placed at each angle. There was no magazine structure. The outer ditch perimeter was 725' enclosing about 0.9 acres.

Fort Wheaton NPS Plan
Fort Eheaton NPS List

This fort was not on the front lines but provided secondary support for some forts along the "Fish Hook."

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. Some remains of the earthworks.

Location: Petersburg, Dinwiddie County, Virginia.

Maps & Images

Lat: 37.16778 Long: -77.44944

  • Multi Maps from ACME
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  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 174'

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