Danville Fortifications

Danville Fortifications (HM18VS)

Location: Danville, VA 24540
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Country: United States of America
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N 36° 35.197', W 79° 22.634'

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Civil War Earthworks Constructed for Danville's Protection

Danville residents, feeling vulnerable to enemy attack because of the vast amount of commissary and quartermaster supplies stored in their town and the presence of the Confederate arsenal, petitioned the town council in February 1863 to build fortifications. Little work was performed, however, until November when the first of more than 7,000 captured Union soldiers arrived from Richmond en route to six prisons converted from tobacco warehouses.

Col. Robert Enoch Withers, commander of the Danville post, enlisted the aid of a Danville professor of music at the Methodist Female College to engineer the fortifications. Charles Chaky de Nordendorf had attended a military school in his native Prussia. With little engineering background, he laid out a system of earthworks that nearly encircled the town. Manned only during times of alarm by home guard and reserve forces, the earthworks were of little value except for the peace-of-mind of the townspeople.

Serious concerns arose in early April 1865, with the expected arrival of Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. The Confederate government relocated to Danville on April 3. President Jefferson Davis inspected these earthworks the next day and found them lacking. Soldiers, citizens and numerous slaves set about strengthening and expanding the fortifications. Work continued until April 10, when the government, after learning of Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, boarded trains for Greensboro, North Carolina.
HM NumberHM18VS
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, October 5th, 2014 at 6:41am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 645170 N 4050241
Decimal Degrees36.58661667, -79.37723333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 36° 35.197', W 79° 22.634'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds36° 35' 11.82" N, 79° 22' 38.04" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)434, 804
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 900-938 South Boston Rd, Danville VA 24540, US
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