At 4:44 am on July 30th, 1864, 150 years ago, the Union army blew a mine that had been dug under the Confederate works at Petersburg, Virginia. Waves of Union soldiers moved forward but they did not get far. The confusion in the Union advance allowed time for Confederate troops under William Mahone to move into position for a counter attack. The men of the 12th Virginia were to be the tip of the spear in the counter assault. Many of these troops called Petersburg home, making the fight personal. The commander of the 12th stood in front of his troops and gave a speech before the attack.
"Men you are called upon to charge and recapture our works. now in the hands of the enemy. They are one hundred yards distant. The enemy can fire only one volley before their works are reached. Rise and move forward at the command double quick and yell. Everybody is expected to do their duty in this crisis." -Capt. Jones 12th Virginia Infantry