Parker’s Battery – Petersburg

Richmond-Petersburg Campaign [June 15, 1864 - April 2, 1865]
Richmond-Petersburg Campaign [June 15, 1864 – April 2, 1865]

This is a rear view of Parker’s Battery, looking out over the Howlett (Confederate) Line towards the Union Line.  This was a four cannon battery.  Cannon would have been placed at the depression on the left, near the tree stump on the right, and flanking the tree in the center.  Of course, none of these trees were here when Parker’s battery was in operation in 1864.  And yes, Parker’s Battery is built more like a fort, with a rear earthwork visible in the foreground.  Technically, a battery in the Civil War didn’t have a rear wall, only forts did, but Parker’s men were here for a long time, without much to do, so adding a rear wall to their battery is not much of a shock.

I’ve got a warm spot for Parker’s Battery, I discovered this location by accident before I began documenting battlefields, and it was very close to where I was living, so I thought of it has kinda the hometown team.  Then when I was photographing the battlefield at Fredericksburg I discovered by accident the location of Parker’s Battery on Marye’s Heights, and now I keep an eye out to see what Parker and his men are doing at each battle.  They keep showing up, and I see them like an old friend in unexpected places across Virginia.


This is a detail from the Park’s information board about Parker’s Battery, and I’ve numbered key points in this plan to correspond with their current locations in the picture below.


Points 1 and 2 are cannon locations, and point 3 shows you where the earthworks ran off to the right.  Points 4 and 5 were likely bombproofs, and part of the rear wall of the battery, where as point 6 shows you roughly where a covered trench (not visible here) goes forward from the ditch in front of the battery.  This trench leads to additional infantry earthworks in front of the battery, and down lower on the ridge.


Another view of Parker’s Battery from virtually the same position, just backed up slightly to let you see the full rear wall, at the cost of slightly obscuring the bombproofs and the interior of the Battery.  The current path runs inside this rear wall.

Note – all of these pictures were taken without walking on any of the earthworks.

You can move around a lot of these civil war earthworks without actually walking on them in many places.  It may mean cutting through some brush or going a long way around, but never, never walk on any Civil War earthworks.  Over time it breaks them down, and they are irreplaceable.