Nature & Science
Although Petersburg National Battlefield was initially established to protect the historically significant areas around Petersburg, Virginia, the park also plays host to a diverse number of inhabitants and ecosystems. Located between the Atlantic Coastal plain and the Piedmont region of Western Virginia, Petersburg National Battlefield’s 2,659 acres varies from the wetlands of Hatcher's run at the Five Forks Battlefield to the combination of mixed hardwood/pine forests and open fields that encompass the park’s Eastern Front. City Point, a 22 acre unit at the confluence of the Appomattox and James Rivers, provides yet another uniquely beautiful asset to Petersburg National Battlefield. Overall, the park spreads out over four different localities; Prince George County, Dinwiddie County, the City of Hopewell, and the City of Petersburg.
With so many irreplaceable cultural resources, the park has the important, and often difficult, task of achieving a balance between the cultural and natural aspects of preservation. Many of the Civil War earthworks, forts, and vistas are kept clear to protect the cultural resources and enhance the visitor’s ability to interpret the siege that occurred around Petersburg.
Wildlife is abundant, and, in certain cases, very visible throughout the park. Deer, rabbit, skunk, groundhog, opossum, and raccoon are some of the most commonly seen species in the park. A variety of avian species frequent the park during different times of the year. Many species of fish, reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals have also been documented within the boundaries of Petersburg National Battlefield.
Did You Know?
From the summer of 1862 until the spring of 1863, Confederate Captain Charles Dimmock appealed to slaveholders to hire their enslaved people, and also hired free black laborers to dig the ten-mile defense line around the City of Petersburg. The defenses became known as the Dimmock Line.