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

    Petersburg

    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.

Web Rangers Activity #3

Engineer camp in the woods around Petersburg, VA

Solve the Mystery of the Disappearing Trees

When you visit Petersburg National Battlefield today, trees and green grass provide an image of a once beautiful place. This is not an accurate picture of the site where soldiers fought in trenches for nine-and-a-half months. Soldiers learned to live off of the land for protection and sometimes for food.

Print this page and complete the activities.

Soldiers had many uses for trees during the siege of Petersburg. Use the pictionary and soldier life pages to list and describe four uses of trees during the Civil War.

Example: Fraise - Soldiers cut down trees and sharpened the ends to create fraise. They placed the fraise in front of their trenches to offer better protection from approaching enemies.

Soldiers from both armies spent much of their time behind walls of earth up to ten feet high. Which artillery weapon would be more effective in attacking men behind the trenches? Refer to the pictionary and soldier life pages to define these weapons. Write down your answer and an explanation.

Would trees be an obstacle for the cannon or the mortars? Why or why not?

 
Trenches near Ft. Morton

This photograph is an example of the trenches where soldiers lived. Soldiers from both the Union and Confederate armies fought in trenches for almost ten months. Imagine what the area of Petersburg looked like after seven months of fighting.

Now imagine what the landscape of Petersburg looked like in April 1865, when the siege finally ended. Draw a sketch of what you think Petersburg looked like during the siege.

Did You Know?

Former Slaves at City Point, Virginia

Slaves who entered Union lines and came to City Point, Virginia (present day Hopewell) during the Siege of Petersburg, were typically employed unloading ships and working in the hospitals. (Petersburg National Battlefield)