Media: Slideshow

The Fall of Petersburg

General Edward Ferrero and Staff

Striking a victorious pose, Union general Edward Ferrero (center figure, standing) and his staff stand on the front stoop of a Petersburg home. The bearded officer at top right holds a bouquet of flowers, but the fall of the city would be bittersweet for Ferrero, who was later reviled for his conduct during the Battle of the Crater. Ferrero commanded a 4,300-man division composed entirely of United States Colored Troops—a group that bore a disproportionate share of the casualties during the battle, while the general himself stayed safely behind in a bunker drinking rum. His failure of leadership helped contribute to the debacle and though Ferrero was officially censured, he did not lose his command. After the war, Ferrero returned to New York City, where he had previously been a dance instructor, and opened the renowned Apollo Hall ballroom. His Colored Troops occupied Petersburg in the postwar period, and many white residents found the presence of armed African Americans particularly odious.

Original Author: Unknown

Created: 1865

Medium: Wet collodion stereograph

Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

Federal Occupation of Petersburg

Stacked Union rifles line a street in Petersburg after the city capitulated on April 3, 1865. Union soldiers took over local policing and governance, though many Petersburg officials were retained in their positions in order to ensure the smooth functioning of the city. Soldiers distributed food and provisions to needy residents, both white and black. Significantly, the Union forces also prevented outbreaks of violence between local whites and blacks.

Original Author: Unknown

Created: April 3, 1865

Medium: Wet collodion glass-plate negative; one half of stereograph

Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

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  • General Edward Ferrero and Staff

    Striking a victorious pose, Union general Edward Ferrero (center figure, standing) and his staff stand on the front stoop of a Petersburg home. The bearded officer at top right holds a bouquet of flowers, but the fall of the city would be bittersweet for Ferrero, who was later reviled for his conduct during the Battle of the Crater. Ferrero commanded a 4,300-man division composed entirely of United States Colored Troops—a group that bore a disproportionate share of the casualties during the battle, while the general himself stayed safely behind in a bunker drinking rum. His failure of leadership helped contribute to the debacle and though Ferrero was officially censured, he did not lose his command. After the war, Ferrero returned to New York City, where he had previously been a dance instructor, and opened the renowned Apollo Hall ballroom. His Colored Troops occupied Petersburg in the postwar period, and many white residents found the presence of armed African Americans particularly odious.

    Original Author: Unknown

    Created: 1865

    Medium: Wet collodion stereograph

    Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

  • Federal Occupation of Petersburg

    Stacked Union rifles line a street in Petersburg after the city capitulated on April 3, 1865. Union soldiers took over local policing and governance, though many Petersburg officials were retained in their positions in order to ensure the smooth functioning of the city. Soldiers distributed food and provisions to needy residents, both white and black. Significantly, the Union forces also prevented outbreaks of violence between local whites and blacks.

    Original Author: Unknown

    Created: April 3, 1865

    Medium: Wet collodion glass-plate negative; one half of stereograph

    Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division