Reverberations -- Petersburg NB

rows of candlelit luminaria arrayed across an evening landscape
Illumination at Poplar Grove National Cemetery

NPS Photo

When the armies finally reached Petersburg at the end of the Overland Campaign in mid-June 1864, the struggle for control of the city and its crucial rail line began and lasted for another ten months. Engagements on June 18 devastated the 1st Maine Artillery from Bangor, Maine. In the coming months, units comprised of Native Americans and USCTs would also play important roles in the fighting. As part of the National Park Service's nationwide Reverberations program on May 24, 2014, Petersburg National Battlefield and communities across the country will pay tribute to these men and remember their stories. The programs will also be livestreamed.


Watch the programs live! The National Park Service will be livestreaming elements of these programs throughout the evening of May 24.

ranger standing in front of a historic brick building

In these short videos, rangers from Petersburg National Battlefield tell these stories in the places where they occurred.

Park Ranger Emmanuel Dabney explains the Civil War era connection between Petersburg, Virginia and Wilmington, North Carolina. These two commercial cities were critically linked by railroads, providing the lifeblood of the late-war Army of Northern Virginia.

ranger in an open green field with a treeline in the background

Park Ranger Ann Blumenschine examines the staggering losses of the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery during the initial Federal attacks on Petersburg after Grant moved south from Cold Harbor.

ranger in a small grassy field with trees in the background

Park Ranger Jimmy Blankenship discusses the role of Anishnabek soldiers from the 1st Michigan Sharpshooters and 37th Wisconsin who fought gallantly in the battle of the Crater, July 30th, 1864.

ranger in historic cemetery

At Blandford Cemetery, Park Ranger Tracy Chernault recounts the story of the fourteen citizen soldiers who died defending their hometown of Petersburg during the initial approach of Grant's army in June of 1864. The local remembrance of the city's fallen heroes influenced the establishment of a national holiday which became Memorial Day.


Program Schedule

Blandford Church and Poplar Grove National Cemetery

Programs begin at 8:00 p.m.

Bangor, Maine

Bangor was the home of many of the men of the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery. On June 18, 1864, approximately 900 members of the unit, acting as foot soldiers, attacked a section of the Confederate defense line located just east of Petersburg. Within one hour, about three-fourths of the entire regiment was wiped out by Confederate cannon fire. On May 24, 2014, the Bangor community, including descendants of the men of the 1st Maine, will read the names of those killed or mortally wounded in the June 18 attack, as well as letters written by the soldiers and their families. Local historians will provide background of the 1st Maine itself, and a National Park ranger will provide details of the Petersburg attack.

Stockbridge/Muncee, Wisconsin

The Stockbridge/Munsee Band of Mohican Indians and the Menominee Wisconsin Indian Tribe of Wisconsin were two of many Native American Indian Tribes which fought in the Civil War. More than 20,000 Native Americans fought in the war. These two tribes fought for the Union though other Native American Tribes fought for the Confederacy, another indication of the divisiveness of the Civil War. Native Americans served in the 2nd New York Heavy Artillery (an infantry unit), the First Michigan Sharpshooters, and the 7th, 36th, 37th and 38th Wisconsin Infantry Regiments at Petersburg.

Camp Nelson, Kentucky

Camp Nelson, Nicholasville, Kentucky was the site of one of the largest Union recruiting and training centers for African-American soldiers or United Sates Colored Troops (USCT). From the opening action of the siege to being among the first troops to enter Richmond and Petersburg when the cities fell on April 3, 1865 their contribution was critical to the Union's success in this nearly ten-month long campaign. Reverberations activities will include presentations on the 114th & 116th USCTs, who were raised at Camp Nelson and served at the siege, a commemorative ceremony for the USCTs' family members who died at Camp Nelson, and a luminary at Camp Nelson National Cemetery recognizing the USCTs from Camp Nelson and from across the country who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Wilmington, North Carolina

Wilmington was linked by two railroad lines to Petersburg, which enabled the Confederacy to move supplies during the war. Also, some regiments from the Confederate and Union armies fought around Petersburg in 1864 and were moved to the Wilmington region by late 1864 or early 1865.


Discover More…

Explore the other Reverberations stories associated with battlefields at Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park here and Richmond National Battlefield Park here.

Return to the main Reverberations webpage here.

Learn more about Petersburg National Battlefield here.

Last updated: May 24, 2014

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