Petersburg National Battlefield
Entrance to the Battlefield Park
Restored entrance to the mine tunnel from Union lines that produced the infamous Crater
The "Dictator" siege mortar at Petersburg. In the foreground, the figure on the right is Brig. Gen. Henry J. Hunt, chief of artillery of the Army of the Potomac.
Map showing where the siege lines around both Richmond and Petersburg were located. Many can be seen still to this day.
Section of some of the preserved trenches
more preserved trenches
Union soldiers in their trenches during Christmas of 1864
Remnants of more trenches
Backstory and Context
Numerous attempts to cut off railroads were thwarted. The Wilson-Krautz raid from June 22nd through July 1st. This raid was able to destroy 60 miles of railroad but it was quickly repaired by the Confederates. The Second Battle of Ream Station was able to destroy 16 miles of track north of Stony Creek. Grant began to launch small attacks to draw more forces out of Petersburg to weaken the Confederate hold on the city.
The final battle of the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign was the Battle of Fort Stedman. Lee's forces were slowly waning and he decided to make a strategic move; Lee sought to cut off reinforcements coming from Shenandoah. The Battle was poorly planned and caused very little damage to Union lines. The Union took the opportunity to break into the lines of the Confederate soldiers.There were 1,044 Union casualties and a staggering 4,000 casualties for the Confederates. This left the Confederate Army considerably weakened.
Today the battlefields serve as a national park with various historical buildings. The Visitor's Center is found just east of Petersburg on Route 36. The center includes some information about the battle. The 33 mile driving tour continues all the way to Poplar Grove Cemetery, a cemetery where nearly 5,000 Union soldiers are buried.