Lead: On a hot sultry August afternoon in 1864 a huge explosion wracked the wharves at City Point, Virginia, filled as they were with goods supplying Union forces at Petersburg. The Federals thought it was an accident.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: City Point was a quiet and peaceful village roughly 10 miles northeast of Petersburg. Today it is a part of Hopewell, Virginia, but for a brief period in 1864 and 1865 it seemed the center of the American universe. Determined to break the supply line between the rest of the Confederacy and its capital at Richmond, General Ulysses S. Grant, had besieged Petersburg which lay at the head of that vital web of railroads spreading south and west. City Point became Grant’s headquarters and its wharves, old and improvised, soon filled with Union food, medicines, supplies and, dangerously, as it would develop, munitions, guns, armament, and gunpowder in huge quantities.