Fort Welch

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Fort Welch (1864-1865) - A Union U.S. Civil War Fort established in 1864 near Petersburg, Dinwiddie County, Virginia. Named Fort Welch after Colonel Norval E. Welch, Commander, 16th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, who was killed at the Battle of Peebles Farm on 30 Sep 1864. Abandoned at the end of the war in 1865.

History of Fort Welch

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 Welch was established on 3 Oct 1864 and completed on 10 Oct 1864. Built as an earthworks redoubt in the shape of a pentagon as a part of the Union seige line around Petersburg known as the "Fish Hook." Constructed with nine positions for field mounted guns and a single magazine. The outer ditch perimeter was some 725' enclosing about 0.8 acres. The fort required about 324 labor days and was built to garrison some 175 men and nine gun crews.

Fort Welch was situated on the western edge of the "Fish Hook" between Union Fort Fisher and Union Fort Gregg. It was connected to those two forts by a line of entrenchments and formed the hook end of the "Fish Hook."

Fort Welch NPS Plan
Fort Welch 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. Some earthworks remains.

Location: Petersburg, Dinwiddie County, Virginia.

Maps & Images

Lat: 37.17294 Long: -77.45994

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