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

    Petersburg

    National Battlefield Virginia

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  • Revised Superintendent's Compendium

    Aug. 2014: The superintendent's compendium has been revised to include regulations regarding unmanned aircraft (drones) in the park. More »

  • Event Cancellation: "Hard Liquor and Women" Walking Tour

    The walking tours which were scheduled to occur on Saturday, Oct. 4 in Old Towne Petersburg have been cancelled due to employee injury. We apologize for the inconvenience.

The Crater

CraterPreludeNPSMap[1]

PNB

Prelude


After the initial attacks on Petersburg by Union forces ended on June 18, a portion of the IX Corps picket line, built under fire, was established only four hundred feet from Elliot's Salient, part of the main Confederate line. The Federals decided to construct and explode a mine underneath the salient in an attempt to surprise and overwhelm the Confederates and seize the heights above Petersburg and thereby shorten the siege.



 
Crater5amNPSMap[1]

PNB

5:00 am

After several weeks of preparation the mine was exploded on July 30 at 4:45am. The Union sent unit after unit into the 200 foot-wide gap created in the Confederate line.The poorly-led Federal soldiers end up heading into the crater and not around it as planned.



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Did You Know?

Richard Eppes, 1890s

Richard Eppes, owner of Appomattox Plantation, which is currently part of the Grant's HQ Unit of Petersburg National Battlefield, noted that it took 8,320 pounds of bacon each year to feed his 127 enslaved people in 1860.