Orange arrow pointing to ellipse, upper center: March 23, 1865 position of the 20th Michigan at Battery Number 9 just north of Fort Stedman two days before the battle.
Click on image for larger version.
Original base map in the public domain with additions by The Siege of Petersburg Online
Since June, 1864, General Grant had been extending the Union siege lines southwest of Petersburg and north of Richmond. That had stretched the Confederate forces to the breaking point.
In January, 1865 the Union had captured Wilmington, North Carolina and closed the last major Confederate port. That cut off more of the few supplies that were still making it around the Union siege lines.
Robert E. Lee realized the Union siege of Petersburg and Richmond was about to result in the capture of both cities and his army.
He decided to launch an attack on the eastern end of the Union lines at Petersburg to open a gap for a break out to the south.
On the morning of March 25, Lee’s forces attacked and captured Fort Stedman.
Union forces, including the 20th Michigan Infantry Regiment immediately counterattacked, closed the gap in their lines and recaptured Fort Stedman.
Sidney King’s mid-20th century painting of the March 25, 1865 Union counterattack at Fort Stedman.
The 20th Michigan would be at the edge on the lower right.
Public domain image from the National Park Service.
The 20th Michigan suffered five wounded.
The Confederate escape route to the south was now blocked and Confederate resistance to the Union siege was on the verge of collapse.
Fort Stedman today.
Public domain image from the National Park Service’s Petersburg National Battlefield
Links, sources, and more information:
If Anson Croman wrote letters home, none have survived. Therefore the best way to preserve the story of his service is by sharing the history of his regiment
Records document that Anson Croman was with his regiment from his 1862 enlistment until the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, Virginia in 1865.
The Musbachs and Robinsons are direct line descendants of Anson Croman and he is my 2nd great-grandfather-in-law.