• Poplar Grove National Cemetery Luminary Event (photo courtesy of Joanne Williams)


    National Battlefield Virginia

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  • No Parking Available in the Eastern Front Unit August 2

    Free shuttle service will transport all visitors to and from the Eastern Front Unit on August 2 during 150th Anniv. of the Battle of the Crater events. Shuttles will depart from the Farmer's Market located at 9 Old St. in Old Towne Petersburg.

  • Eastern Front Unit Trails Closed to Horse Traffic on August 2

    Those who would like to ride horses at the park on Aug. 2 are encouraged to use the trails at Five Forks in Dinwiddie County as other trails will be closed to horses that day while the park commemorates the 150th Anniv. of the Battle of the Crater.

Pictionary: P

Percussion Caps

Percussion Caps

These small copper caps contained a compound that when struck by the hammer of a musket caused a spark. This spark ignited the powder in the barrel of the gun causing it to fire. Percussion caps were carried in a cap pouch worn on the belt.


U.S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, PA

A person placed on guard duty at the front lines. The picket post, like the one pictured, was positioned to be the first warning in case of any attack. If a soldier on picket duty saw the enemy approaching, he would fire his rifle to warn the men in the trenches.

Priming Wire

Priming Wire

The number three man of the cannon crew would insert this priming wire into the vent after the round had been shoved into the end of the cannon, and prick through the wool cartridge bag into the powder. This motion would expose the powder for ignition of the gun. One end was sharpened to a point, the other bent into ring form for easy handling.

Did You Know?

Lesser Siren

Hatcher's Run beaver pond in Petersburg's Five Fork's Unit is home to two unusual amphibians. The Amphiuma (Amphiuma means) can grow up to 3.25 feet and live almost 30 years. The Lesser Siren (Siren intermedia) is the most primitive salamander still in existence.