Petersburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
South Side Station
Beginning of the End
— Lee vs. Grant – The 1864 Campaign —
This original South Side Railroad Station, the oldest such building in the state, was built around 1854 when the line was completed from Petersburg westward to Lynchburg, a distance of 123 miles. An express train could run this distance in five hours, including one hour stopping at the various stations along the way. The old City Point Railroad was also purchased at this time, becoming an extension of the South Side.
During the Civil War, many Confederate troops were brought here from distant battlefields and taken to the numerous Petersburg hospitals. In the final year of the war, the railroad would be the target of at least three Federal cavalry raids, with service being disrupted from time to time while the tracks were repaired.
During the siege, the building was under constant bombardment as a strategic target. Trains were forced to begin stopping out of artillery range at the Fleet Street crossing, a few blocks west near Campbell's Bridge.
Damage from a 30-pound artillery shell can still be seen in the western freight wing where it crashed into a roof support beam. The beam was later braced to repair
This building served as the post-war offices for the Atlantic, Mississippi & Ohio Railroad under former Confederate Gen. William Mahone. His office was on the upper floor of the passenger station. This rail line is now the Norfolk-Southern.
"The Town of Petersburg" as it was presented to Northerners in The New-York Times on June 21, 1864, a week into the campaign. Although it does have some inaccuracies, it is fairly dependable. You are standing in front of the building marked "Lynchburg & City Point Depot."
South Side Station is the junction of two Virginia Civil War Trails. The Lee's Retreat driving tour begins here and continues to Appomattox. The 1864 Lee vs. Grant trail, which begins west of Fredericksburg, ends here. The station and Petersburg endured a 9½ month siege as the armies struggled for advantage outside the city. For more historical information, tune your radio to AM 1610.
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Railroads & Streetcars • War, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is June 21, 1864.
Location. 37° Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 30 River St, Petersburg VA 23803, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named South Side Station (here, next to this marker); The McIlwaine House (within shouting distance of this marker); Farmers Market (within shouting distance of this marker); 1864-1865: The Bombardment of Petersburg (within shouting distance of this marker); Old Market Square (within shouting distance of this marker); Petersburg’s Old Towne (within shouting distance of this marker); Touring Old Towne (within shouting distance of this marker); Petersburg’s Natural Parks (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Petersburg.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. This marker has replaced the linked marker.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 11, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 9, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 60 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on May 9, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. 2. submitted on November 17, 2007, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. 3. submitted on June 10, 2021, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia.