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


    National Battlefield Virginia

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Attn. GPS Users - Advice for Seeking Directions to the Park

    If you are using a GPS unit, please click here: More »

  • 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.

Opening Assaults: The 15th-17th

Opening Assaults June15 1864

Advance of Union forces on Petersburg


June 15, 1864

After crossing the Appomattox River upstream from City Point, Gen. Smith's (USA) XVIII Corps (14,000 men) advanced and defeated a small Confederate force in a two-hour long morning battle just three miles east of the main Petersburg defenses.

Then after nearly ten hours of scouting and organizing, the Union soldiers attacked Beauregard's forces (2,200) at 7 pm. In two hours of fighting the Union opened up a two mile-long hole in the Dimmock Line.

At 9 pm., with the Confederates falling back, the US II Corp arrived (16,000) but Smith decided to wait until the 16th to resume the attack.

June 17, 1864

Most of the Union effort was focused just south of the fighting on June 15th and their poorly coordinated attacks offset the numerical advantages of the Northern forces by allowing Beauregard to concentrate his troops where needed.

Beauregard had been busy telegraphing Lee for the last several days for support from the main Confederate force near Richmond. Lee was then convinced of Grant's real intentions and rushed reinforcements to Petersburg.

Previous / Next

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)