In War's Wake

The fighting at Petersburg altered the course of the Civil War, the course of American history, and the lives of ten's of thousands of Americans who lived through it.

Wealth to buy passage and head rights, indentured servitude, immigration, enslavement, forced migration, opportunities to work, and the call of war were what brought many to Petersburg by 1860. Some had been here for generations as free people or slaves. Others arrived for the promise of work and wealth in the growing city it was before the war. Three years into the war men in gray or blue were drawn here by the ebb and flow of the fighting.

On April 3rd 1865 the armies moved on and the war soon ended. But the fighting aorund Petersburg, including the nearly ten-month siege of the city, would leave its mark be it loss, hope, new beginnings, devastation, relocation, rebuilding, etc. upon all of them.

This section will grow as stories of people, from across the specturm, who survived Civil War Petersburg are discovered. Their experiences remind us that the impact of this stuggle around this city lived well beyond its last battle.

1862: When war first came to Petersburg . .

In May 1862, with the fall of Norfolk on the 10th and a month before the Seven Days Campaign began, the Union navy had a strong presence in the James River. Due to this, the Eppe's Appomattox Plantation at City Point experienced, like other plantations along this river, a profound change as slaves took their quest for freedom into their own hands. These are some of their stories.

1864: "A mere question of time . . ." - The siege of Petersburg

Early May 1864 Union forces had siezed the Eppe's plantation at City Point and button holed Union forces at Bermuda Hundred. By mid-June Gen. Grant's forces had crossed the James River and advanced upon Petersburg. The 9 1/2 month struggle would reach north to Richmond, envelope Petersburg, and west through the communities of Dinwiddie County.

Last updated: March 6, 2021

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Petersburg National Battlefield Administration Office
1539 Hickory Hill Road

Petersburg , VA 23803


804 732-3531 x203
Office Telephone As of Oct. 7, 2020, telephones in the visitor center are not working. Please e-mail questions to the address listed.

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