Web Rangers Activity #2

Supply the Soldiers in the Field

Petersburg was a target for the Union army for several reasons. As the siege turned into months, it became an effort to get supplies to the soldiers in the field. Imagine that you are General Grant and General Lee, and you must decide how to get supplies to your army.

Print the map of Petersburg, as it appeared in 1864. The red line around the city represents a series of Confederate trenches that surrounded the city to protect the supply depot. The dark blue line represents the movement of the Union army.

Refer to the battle maps of the web site to complete the following activities.

Map key:
Black = Railroads
Green = Roads
Red = Confederate trenches
Dark Blue = Union trenches
Blue = Water


The Union army traveled across the James River to arrive at City Point. Locate this in the top right corner of Map #1. Now, follow the blue arrow down towards the city of Petersburg. This arrow shows the movement of Union soldiers to the city as the fighting began.

1. Use a blue marker or pen to mark an X where the Union soldiers first attacked the city of Petersburg. Remember, that an army of thousands was trying to organize themselves for this attack.

2. Use a black pen to draw lines resembling train tracks through the five railroad lines you see on the map. Below the map, list three types of supplies the soldiers may have needed from the railroad lines.

3. Identify the two railroad lines that were taken by the Union army during the first three days of fighting, June 15th - 18th.


The Union army under General Grant began to work their way around the city of Petersburg to capture the supply lines, as represented by the blue lines on Map #2. After several attempts, the Union army succeeded in capturing a portion of the Weldon Railroad.

1. When the Union army could not take Petersburg by direct attack, why did they begin attacking the railroad lines?

2. Circle the two railroad lines that still remained in Confederate hands, following the Battle of Weldon Railroad.

3. The Weldon Railroad still remained in Confederate control farther south from the city. Can this railroad still supply the Confederate army? Use a red pen to illustrate how the Confederate army could still gain supplies from the Weldon Railroad. (Hint: Think of other methods of transportation).

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Petersburg National Battlefield Administration Office
1539 Hickory Hill Road

Petersburg, VA 23803


804 732-3531 x200
If you cannot reach us by phone - please e-mail questions to the address listed.

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