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John David Hoptak and the 48th Pennsylvania at the Siege of Petersburg

Antietam Park Ranger, published author, blogger and student of the 48th Pennsylvania John David Hoptak is spending some time in June, 147 years after the fact, looking at the 48th Pennsylvania’s action along the lines at the Siege of Petersburg.  The 48th Pennsylvania and its famous Colonel Henry Pleasants are of course known for tunneling under the Confederate lines at Pegram’s Salient.  The mine explosion which followed directly preceded the Battle of the Crater.  What’s less known, writes Hoptak, is that:

[T]he 48th was heavily engaged in attacks against those same lines a week before they began digging; indeed, the regiment suffered some of its highest casualties of the war during these assaults, and the valor of two of its members would be recognized with Medals of Honor. Regimental historian Oliver Bosbyshell would even declare that the attack on June 17 “was probably, in all its results, the most brilliant engagement for the Forty-eighth of any in which it participated.1

Ranger Hoptak proceeds to gather materials pertaining to the assaults written by members of the regiment.  I encourage anyone interested in the Siege of Petersburg to go check these accounts out.  I’m finding myself intensely interested in first person accounts of the siege due to my new Kindle and the hundreds if not thousands of regimental histories, diaries, and memoirs available at places such as Google Books and Internet Archive.

UPDATE: Links to each post will be added here as Ranger Hoptak continues this interesting series:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

  1. “Before the Crater: The 48th Pennsylvania at Petersburg: June 1864 (Part 1).” (2011, June 18). The 48th Pennsylvania Infantry. Retrieved June 23, 2011 from http://48thpennsylvania.blogspot.com/2011/06/before-crater-48th-pennsylvania-at.html.
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