The post-Civil War street in front of you, Kenmore Avenue, covers a wartime millrace or canal ditch. On December 13, 1862, the ditch became a maddening obstacle to Union soldiers advancing against Marye's Heights. Five feet deep, 15 feet wide, and filled with frigid water, it could only be crossed on three battered bridges. As the Federals funneled across the waterway, they were pummeled by Confederate artillery.
Once across the ditch, the Federals formed in the shelter of a slight bluff, then charged the Sunken Road and Marye's Heights. By the end of the day more than 1,000 Union soldiers lay dead on the plain that stretches out before you. Seven thousand more were wounded or captured. "It was a great slaughter-pen...they might as well have tried to take Hell."
"It can hardly be in human nature for men to show more valor, or generals to manifest less judgment, than were perceptible on our side that day."
—The Cincinnati Commercial