At the start of the Civil War, Petersburg was the second largest city in Virginia, an industrial powerhouse stemming from its location at the head of the Appomattox River and its five railroads that radiated out in all directions. In 1864 and 1865 some 125,000 visitors descended on the Tri-Cities region. Arriving on foot, horseback, in wagons, and onboard steamers they dressed in military uniforms of blue, gray, and butternut — the largest armies in Virginia converged on Petersburg for a contest that would last for 292 days.
One hundred and fifty years later, the impact of their visit still resonates throughout the Petersburg region (which includes Chesterfield, Colonial Heights, Dinwiddie, Hopewell, Petersburg, and Prince George) both physically and psychologically. The legacy of that tragic chapter of American history lives today in the Petersburg regions’ battlefields, museums, and historic homes.
On the eve of the150th Anniversary of the Civil War & Emancipation, contemporary visitors are invited to explore the scenes of Petersburg?s most important battles, such as the Crater, Fort Stedman, and Five Forks at the Petersburg National Battlefield. Pamplin Historical Park & National Museum of the Civil War Soldier in Dinwiddie County preserves the site of the campaign’s climatic engagement known as “The Breakthrough”, that forced the evacuation of Richmond and Petersburg on April 2, 1865. Other attractions include Violet Bank in Colonial Heights, Bland Church in Petersburg, Poplar Grove National Cemetery in Dinwiddie, and Grant’s Headquarters at City Point in Hopewell.
Click here for a full listing of upcoming events in the Petersburg region for the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War and Emancipation.
Contributed by A. Wilson Greene, Executive Director with Pamplin Historical Park. Mr Greene has worked in the field of Southern and Civic War history for over 40 years, is the author of six books, more than thirty published articles and essays, and was the first executive director of what is now the Civil War Trust.
Petersburg Area Regional Tourism (PART) works to help visitors discover one of Virginia’s most historic and entertaining regions — The Best PART of Virginia. Please mark your calendars to visit in 2014-2015 for major 150th Civil War & Emancipation events. Click here to learn more or be sure to visit ConnectVA’s Community Calendar!