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


    National Battlefield Virginia

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Pictionary: T


Tents (Library of Congress)

Soldiers spent the first six months at Petersburg sleeping in tents or under the stars. Finally, as the days grew colder in November, soldiers in camp constructed winter huts made of trees for greater warmth.



The thumbstall was a buckskin cover for the thumb to protect it from heat while stopping the vent during the loading of the cannon. This prevented air from entering the cannon and perhaps igniting smoldering material that would prematurely ignite the cartridge. The string was tied securely around the wrist!

Tin Cup

Tin Cup

Usually carried on the haversack, where it could be easily used, the tin cup served as a dipper or to the soldiers delight, held a cup of hot coffee. The tin cup was also used as a handy digging tool or scoop, especially in the trenches around Petersburg.



A type of earthwork, trenches were deep ditches where troops sought protection during battle. Trenches were usually long, narrow excavations used for military defense and often having the excavated dirt piled up in front of it. They were used to connect the fortifications around Petersburg.



The enlisted soldier wore straight, cuffless "stove pipe" trousers, fairly full. Creasing was unknown in those days and trousers were pressed round, if pressed at all. U.S. army issue trousers were made of sky blue kersey. The trousers were provided with suspender buttons but suspenders were not always worn. The housewife could be used to mend the tears or lost buttons that came with hard use.

Did You Know?

Brig. General Frederick Winthrop

Union Brevet Brigadier General Frederick Winthrop was Massachusetts Bay Colony Governor John Winthrop's sixth great-grandson. Winthrop was mortally wounded at the Battle of Five Forks on April 1, 1865. (Petersburg National Battlefield)