The Battle of Five Forks

Ron Wilson

Ron Wilson

Regular listeners of our podcast or our live streaming feed might know Rick Britton. He’s a historian and cartographer and a frequent guest on WINA’s Charlottesville Right Now with Coy Barefoot. Rick also organizes a Civil War lecture and day-trip series in conjunction with the Charlottesville Senior Center.

On Wednesday, September 16th Ron Wilson, who was the Appomattox National Park historian for twenty-five years, delivered a fascinating talk on the Battle of Five Forks (and the three actions that immediately preceded it). Fought on April 1st, 1865, Five Forks — often called the "Waterloo of the Confederacy" — pitted Confederate Gen. George Pickett with approximately 10,000 men, against Union Gen. Philip Sheridan with twice that number. General Pickett — not particularly the sharpest knife in the Confederate rack — missed the opening of this very important engagement because he was attending a shad bake a few miles to the rear. The Southern defeat at Five Forks spelled doom for Lee’s Petersburg defenses and was truly the beginning of the end.

On Wednesday, September 23rd, Rick Britton (along with Ron Wilson) will conduct a tour of the siege lines at Petersburg and the Five Forks battlefield. Bus tour departs from the Charlottesville Senior Center at 9:00 AM. There is a fee for the tour. Call 974-6538 for more information

This is part six of a seven part series. The event is held every third Wednesday at the Charlottesville Senior Center.