“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
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Historical Markers and War Memorials in Petersburg VA 23803

"The Rocks" Marker image, Touch for more information
By Devry Becker Jones, May 8, 2020
"The Rocks" Marker
1Virginia (Chesterfield County), Ettrick — "The Rocks"Virginia State University
"The Rocks" became a popular place for students to meet down on the Appomattox River. The group seen here is from the "Normal Class" of 1913. The term "normal" referred to teacher training programs. The "collegiate institute" included training in . . . Map (db m149617) HM
2Virginia (Chesterfield County), Ettrick — K-204 — Ettrick
The site of an Appomattox Indian village burned in 1676 in Bacon's Rebellion, the present town of Ettrick stands on land that belonged to "Ettrick Banks" and "Matoax," the boyhood plantation of John Randolph of Roanoke. In 1810 Campbell's Bridge . . . Map (db m14622) HM
3Virginia (Chesterfield County), Ettrick — Ettrick Veterans Memorial
In honor of those of Ettrick who served in the Armed Forces and in memory of these who made the Supreme Sacrifice in World War II C. Leslie Clarke • William E. Laffoon • Robert E. Marable • Charlie L. Nichols • Charles C. . . . Map (db m149623) WM
4Virginia (Chesterfield County), Ettrick — Local Workforce At The MillsVirginia State University
A small village was established by the early 1800's along the Appomattox River with 200 workers who operated the cotton mill. Millworkers' housing from the mid- 19th century onward is one of the outstanding features of the Ettrick Historic District. . . . Map (db m149616) HM
5Virginia (Chesterfield County), Ettrick — Mr. Frederick Francoz SimmsVirginia State University
Frederick Francoz Simms was born to Frederick H. and America T. Ayer Simms on May 8, 1884 in New Orleans Parish. A graduate of Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, commonly known today as Southern University in Baton . . . Map (db m149605) HM
6Virginia (Chesterfield County), Ettrick — Railroad Crossing Over The Appomattox RiverVirginia State University
The Southside Railroad, completed in 1854, was one of the most important supply routes in southern Virginia during the American Civil War (1861-1865). With tracks laid east to west across the state, the railroad began began at City Point in . . . Map (db m149611) HM
7Virginia (Chesterfield County), Ettrick — Restoration of Storum HallBrought to you through the generous support of: — National Park Service's Historically Black Colleges and Universities Grant Program —
Project Overview: In 1907, the trustees of what is now Virginia State University voted to build a new President's residence at a cost of $3,300. Named for the school's first principal, James Storum, Storum Hall is the University's oldest . . . Map (db m149622) HM
8Virginia (Chesterfield County), Ettrick — Restoration of Vawter HallBrought to you through the generous support of: — National Park Service's Historically Black Colleges and Universities Grant Program —
Project Overview: Vawter Hall was named for Captain Charles E. Vawter, a life-long educator and Chairman of the board of the Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute Board of Trustees from 1902 until his death in 1905. Constructed in 1908, it . . . Map (db m149619) HM
9Virginia (Chesterfield County), Ettrick — Shaping Of The TownVirginia State University
Directly across the river, Petersburg began to develop into a major industrial and commercial center. The town sprang up at the Appomattox River's fall line, where rocks and shallows prevented cargo boats from sailing upstream. Planters from the . . . Map (db m149613) HM
10Virginia (Chesterfield County), Ettrick — Silk MillVirginia State University
The Virginia State Normal School, now Virginia State University, purchased a two-acre tract with a mill building from John Stearns for the sum of $35,000 in 1922. The mill was used for silk dying and weaving and was one of many water powered mills . . . Map (db m149612) HM
11Virginia (Chesterfield County), Ettrick — Simms Hall
Simms Hall was used to educate tradesmen. This is the only remaining structure from the building. It is believed to be a demonstration of the art of masonry.Map (db m149610) HM
12Virginia (Chesterfield County), Ettrick — The History Of Virginia State UniversityVirginia State University
Virginia State University was founded on March 6, 1882, when the legislature passed a bill to charter the Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute. The bill was sponsored by Delegate Alfred W. Harris, a Black attorney whose offices were in . . . Map (db m149618) HM
13Virginia (Chesterfield County), Matoaca — K 324-b — Matoaca Mill Site
Originally named the Providence Manufacturing Company, Matoaca Manufacturing (Mill) had its beginning here late in the 1700s on land then known as Olive Hill Plantation. Initially operated as a grist mill, by 1838 it was producing cotton cloth and . . . Map (db m48473) HM
14Virginia (Chesterfield County), Petersburg — O-26 — Mattoax
Mattoax was located to the south on the Appomattox River. John Randolph, Sr., built a house there in the 1770s that burned after 1810; it was the boyhood home of his son, John Randolph of Roanoke. Mattoax also was the residence of St. George Tucker, . . . Map (db m19637) HM
15Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — “A Determination That Knew No Such Word as Fail”The Breakthrough Trail — Pamplin Historical Park —
As the Vermonters pushed closer to the Confederate fortifications, they encountered the multiple rows of obstructions specifically designed to pin down an attacking force. Here, the Confederates extracted a terrible toll on the desperate Federals, . . . Map (db m15324) HM
16Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — “A Great Struggle is Now Impending”The Breakthrough Trail — Pamplin Historical Park —
The Union high command began making preparations to attack the Confederate lines on the Boisseau Plantation shortly after the capture of the Rebels’ picket line on March 25. Final orders arrived on the afternoon of April 1 for a dawn assault the . . . Map (db m15313) HM
17Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — “Our Line of Battle was so Thin”The Breakthrough Trail — Pamplin Historical Park —
The Confederate troops who defended this portion of the works belonged to Brigadier General James H. Lane’s North Carolina Brigade. These Tarheels assumed responsibility here on March 30 after McGowan’s Brigade moved several miles west to plug a gap . . . Map (db m15375) HM
18Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — “The Cannons’ Flashes Lit Up the Terrible Scene”The Breakthrough Trail — Pamplin Historical Park —
At various intervals along their lines, Confederate defenders constructed gun emplacements, called redans, such as the one in front of you. Each redan would hold as few as one or as many as six cannons. Virtually every square inch of ground in front . . . Map (db m15377) HM
19Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — “The Strongest Line of Works Ever Constructed”The Breakthrough Trail — Pamplin Historical Park —
The main line of entrenchments behind you was only one part of the entire defensive network established here by the Confederates. Southern soldiers removed all the trees in front of their works to create a clear field of fire. They used the wood to . . . Map (db m15381) HM
20Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — “We Fought Desperately”The Breakthrough Trail — Pamplin Historical Park —
The passage of the picket posts and abatis shattered regimental formations in the Vermont Brigade. The attack degenerated into a rush of disorganized men rather than an example of textbook tactics. Orderly Sergeant Thomas H. McCauley of the . . . Map (db m154894) HM
21Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — 1st Lieutenant Evander McNair RobesonThe Breakthrough — Pamplin Historical Park —
1st Lieutenant Evander McNair Robeson Company K, 18th North Carolina Infantry, Lane’s Brigade, Wilcox’s Division, Third Corps Resident: Bladen County, North Carolina Enlisted: April 1861 A comrade of Robeson’s wrote about the battle on April 2, . . . Map (db m15325) HM
22Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — 1st Lieutenant Octavius Augustus WigginsThe Breakthrough — Pamplin Historical Park —
1st Lieutenant Octavius Augustus Wiggins Company E, 37th North Carolina Infantry, Lane’s Brigade, Wilcox’s Division, Third Corps Resident: Halifax County, North Carolina Enlisted: June 1862 Wiggins was wounded near here during the Breakthrough . . . Map (db m15326) HM
23Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — A Mysterious Historic FeatureThe Breakthrough Trail — Pamplin Historical Park —
The shallow depression in front of you marks the location of what was once a substantial dwelling. Archaeologists excavated this site in 1997 and discovered a well-preserved brick foundation and flooring. The artifacts recovered from the site . . . Map (db m15407) HM
24Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — A.P. Hill Memorial
To the memory of A.P. Hill, Lt - Gen CSA He was killed about 600 yards northwardly from this marker, being shot by a small band of stragglers from the Federal lines on the morning of April 2nd, 1865. Erected by A.P. Hill Camp Sons of Confederate . . . Map (db m3595) HM
25Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — After the Breakthrough: April 2, 1865The Banks House — Pamplin Historical Park —
Following their breakthrough near the Boisseau and Hart Farms, Federal soldiers of Major General Horatio G. Wright’s Sixth Corps poured over the earthworks southwest of Petersburg and into the Confederate rear. Some Federals penetrated as far as a . . . Map (db m15428) HM
26Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — Battlefield TerrainThe Breakthrough Trail — Pamplin Historical Park —
This bridge spans a small branch of Arthur’s Swamp. The ravine created by this streamlet had important consequences for both the defending Confederates and the attacking Union troops. The earthen mounds immediately in front of you are the remains . . . Map (db m15418) HM
27Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — Brother vs. BrotherThe Breakthrough Trail — Pamplin Historical Park —
Near here, the 6th Maryland Infantry (Union) made their penetration of the Confederate fortifications. Major Clifton K. Prentiss, a 29-year-old from Baltimore, helped lead his unit in the Breakthrough only to fall wounded with a rifle ball in his . . . Map (db m15332) HM
28Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — S-51 — Burgess Mill
An old mill stood here, with earthworks. On October 27, 1864, General Hancock, coming from the south, attempted to cross the run here and reach the Southside Railroad. He was supported on the east by Warren's (Fifth) Corps. The Confederates, . . . Map (db m17697) HM
29Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — S-48 — Cattle (Beefsteak) Raid
Leaving from a point along the Confederate right flank on Boydon Plank Road on 14 Sept. 1864, Maj. Gen. Wade Hampton took about 3,000 Confederate cavalrymen and rode more than 100 miles around the rear of the Union army. Reaching Coggins’ Point on . . . Map (db m14775) HM
30Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — I-6 — Central State Hospital
Established in 1869 in temporary quarters at Howard's Grove near Richmond. In 1870 it came under control of the State. In 1885 it was moved to the present location, the site of "Mayfield Plantation", which was purchased and donated to the State by . . . Map (db m19000) HM
31Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — Confederate Fort Gregg
“Men, the salvation of Lee’s army is in your keeping.” – Maj. Gen. Cadmus Wilcox to the defenders of Fort Gregg, April 2, 1865 On the afternoon of April 2, 1865, after a morning of bludgeoning attacks all along the . . . Map (db m7749) HM
32Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — S-82 — Confederate Fort Whitworth
Named for the Whitworth family of Mayfield, the farm on which it was built, this outpost (a quarter-mile east) and Fort Gregg, 400 yards to the south, were constructed to protect the western approaches to Petersburg during the 1864-1865 siege. On 2 . . . Map (db m126048) HM
33Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — Confederate Winter HutsThe Breakthrough Trail — Pamplin Historical Park —
The two mounds on the lawn in front of you mark the locations of winter huts built by soldiers of Brigadier General Samuel McGowan’s South Carolina brigade during the winter of 1864-65. McGowan’s troops established several camps in this area . . . Map (db m15410) HM
34Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — Confederate Winter QuartersThe Breakthrough Trail — Pamplin Historical Park —
Brigadier General Samuel McGowan’s South Carolina Brigade spent the winter of 1864-1865 very close to the fortifications they defended. A temporary scarcity of building materials in the early winter compelled many of McGowan’s men to rely on their . . . Map (db m15424) HM
35Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — S-47 — Edge Hill
To the north stood William Turnbull's house, Edge Hill, headquarters of Gen. Robert E. Lee from 23 Nov. 1864 to 2 Apr. 1865 during the siege of Petersburg. Here, after dawn on 2 Apr., Lee learned of the Union attack that soon shattered his lines and . . . Map (db m17547) HM
36Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — Field FortificationsThe Military Encampment — Pamplin Historical Park —
Pamplin Historical Park has created these replica earthworks to suggest how this area might have looked during the winter of 1864-65. Both armies at Petersburg constructed long lines of field fortifications. Engineer officers used standard manuals . . . Map (db m15427) HM
37Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — First Man Over the WorksThe Breakthrough Trail — Pamplin Historical Park —
In the hours, days, and years after the Breakthrough, many Union soldiers boasted that they or their regiment were the first troops to capture the Confederate works on the morning of April 2. Darkness, the chaos of the attack, and the wide Federal . . . Map (db m15311) HM
38Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — Fort Conahey
“This fort has cost more labour than any other, has afforded an admirable lesson in engineering, and is one of the sights to show to strangers. Further than this I doubt the value of its elaborateness.” - Col. Charles . . . Map (db m7861) HM
39Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — Fort Gregg
Fort Gregg Confederate Defense Line Apr. 2, 1865 ———— Erected Apr. 2, 1914 By A.P. Hill Camp S.C.V.Map (db m7751) HM
40Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — S-50 — Hatcher's Run
Lee's right wing was defended by earthworks on this stream, here and to the east. These works were unsuccessfully attacked by Union forces, February 5-7, 1865. On the morning of April 2, 1865, they were stormed by Union troops.Map (db m17696) HM
41Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — History of the Banks HouseThe Banks House — Pamplin Historical Park —
This upper middle-class dwelling is one of the earliest surviving structures in Dinwiddie County. Unfortunately, the name of original builder has been lost to time. The architectural evidence suggests that the house evolved in four phases between . . . Map (db m11974) HM
42Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — Kitchen and Servants HallTudor Hall Plantation
The design of this building is typical of slave quarters built on Virginia plantations during the 1840s and 1850s. Each side provided space for one slave family, with a room downstairs for living and working and a loft for sleeping. The right side . . . Map (db m15444) HM
43Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — Kitchen GardenTudor Hall Plantation
A nineteenth-century kitchen garden of one acre, about the size of a football field, could be maintained by one person and provide produce for 10-15 people. The management of the kitchen garden generally fell to the women of the household. The . . . Map (db m15451) HM
44Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — Lieutenant Colonel George B. DamonThe Breakthrough — Pamplin Historical Park —
Lieutenant Colonel George B. Damon 10th Vermont Infantry, 1st Brigade, 3rd Division (Seymour), Sixth Corps Resident: Newbury, Vermont Enlisted: August 1862 Colonel Damon’s regiment, the 10th Vermont Infantry, struck the Confederate trenches . . . Map (db m15339) HM
45Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — Lieutenant Colonel Ronald A. KennedyThe Breakthrough — Pamplin Historical Park —
Lieutenant Colonel Ronald A. Kennedy 5th Vermont Infantry, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division (Getty), Sixth Corps Resident: Concord, Vermont Enlisted: June 18, 1861 Kennedy and his men passed this very spot during their attack on April 2, 1865. He . . . Map (db m15329) HM
46Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — McGowan’s South Carolina BrigadeThe Breakthrough Trail — Pamplin Historical Park —
Brigadier General Samuel McGowan, a 43-year-old lawyer and politician from Abbeville, South Carolina, commanded the troops responsible for maintaining these fortifications from October 1864 through March 1865. McGowan’s Brigade consisted of five . . . Map (db m15413) HM
47Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — Pamplin Historical Park & The National Museum of the Civil War SoldierLee's Retreat — April 2, 1865 —
Here, the Union’s Sixth Army Corps broke through the Confederate line defending Petersburg, causing a series of actions which eventually led to the evacuation of the city by Lee’s army that evening. Nearby, Confederate General A.P. Hill was killed . . . Map (db m6080) HM
48Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — Petersburg BattlefieldsLife between the Picket Lines
"When a man is on picket at night he is monarch of all he surveys. No one living has more absolute power than he. His word is law."—Corp. Lewis Bissell, 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery, USA "I have seen veterans of three full . . . Map (db m85913) HM
49Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — Petersburg BattlefieldsContested Ground
From here at Fort Welch, you can see the ground over which soldiers struggled during three distinct battles. On October 2, 1864, Federals advanced across the ground to your left in an attempt to capture the key Confederate intermediate supply route, . . . Map (db m85935) HM
50Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — Petersburg BattlefieldsThe Union Line
"We have set what we call Johnny catchers ... long poles set into the ground with the upper end about as high as a man's head and they are so thick that a rabbit could not crawl through."—Corp. Andrew W. Burwell, 5th Wisconsin . . . Map (db m155596) HM
51Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — Petersburg BattlefieldsThe Campaign for Petersburg
“The charge of Major-Gen. Wright’s veterans under cover of the darkness and mist … will forever live in history as one of the grandest and most sublime actions of the war.”—Sgt. Newton J. Terrill, 14th New Jersey . . . Map (db m166942) HM
52Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — 15 — Petersburg State Colony for the Negro InsanePetersburg, Virginia — Dinwiddie County —
In 1938 the Virginia Assembly chartered a residential care facility for mentally retarded African-American males between 8 and 21 years of age. The Petersburg State Colony for the Negro Insane, as it was named, was located on the present site of . . . Map (db m23455) HM
53Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — Sergeant John E. BuffingtonThe Breakthrough — Pamplin Historical Park —
Sergeant John E. Buffington 6th Maryland Infantry, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division (Seymour), Sixth Corps Resident: Carroll County, Maryland Enlisted: August 1862 Sergeant John Ezra Buffington, with five other men of his regiment, stormed the . . . Map (db m15379) HM
54Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — Siege of Petersburg—Grant's Eighth OffensiveApril 2-3, 1865 Fall of Petersburg and Richmond
With the Confederate defeat at Five Forks on April 1, 1865, Confederate general Robert E. Lee's defense of Petersburg and Richmond had been lost. On April 2, Union General Ulysses S. Grant ordered a general assault against the Petersburg lines and . . . Map (db m78094) HM
55Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — Siege of Petersburg—Grant's Fifth OffensiveSeptember 29 - October 2, 1864 Battle of Peebles' Farm
Throughout the summer of 1864 Union General Ulysses S. Grant made several unsuccessful assaults against the Confederate defenses around Richmond and Petersburg. Then, in the fall of 1864, the Union won decisive victories on other fronts of the war. . . . Map (db m78095) HM
56Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — Sixth Maryland Infantry Monument
The Sixth Maryland Infantry attacked over this ground in the pre-dawn hours of April 2, 1865. A portion of the regiment, led by Major Clifton K. Prentiss, poured over the Confederate works here, suffering numerous casualties in the process, . . . Map (db m48443) HM
57Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Attack BeginsThe Breakthrough Trail — Pamplin Historical Park —
Major General Horatio G. Wright deployed the 14,000 attackers of his Sixth Corps in a wedge-shaped formation. Although the entire battle front extended for nearly a mile, the point of the wedge was here, manned by the Vermont Brigade commanded by . . . Map (db m15307) HM
58Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Banks HousePamplin Historical Park
Welcome to the Banks House. This 18th-century home was typical of other upper-middle class farms in Dinwiddie County, except for 24 hours on April 2-3, 1865 when it became military headquarters for Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant. From here, . . . Map (db m11944) HM
59Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Battle of Fort Whitworth
This battery, also known as Fort Baldwin, Alexander or Anderson was garrisoned by the 19th & 48th Mississippi Infantry of Brig. Genl. Nathaniel Harris’s brigade. They were initially supported by guns of Louisiana’s Washington Artillery but these . . . Map (db m126047) HM
60Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Battle of Harmon RoadThe Breakthrough Trail — Pamplin Historical Park —
On the final day of the Battle of Peebles’ Farm, October 2, 1864, Union troops of Brigadier General Gershom Mott’s Third Division, Second Army Corps, moved against the Confederate breastworks at the Hart Farm. Mott had orders to determine if the . . . Map (db m15397) HM
61Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Battle of White Oak RoadThe Walking Trail
Welcome to the Civil War Preservation Trust’s White Oak Road Battlefield! The battlefield walking trail is a two-thirds-of-a-mile path that takes you past six wayside signs interpreting the 1865 battle, the remains of the Confederate earthworks, and . . . Map (db m14795) HM
62Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Battle of White Oak RoadFour Years of War, Ten Months of Siege
It was March 1865. The Civil War had raged across battlefields from New Mexico to Pennsylvania for four desperate years. More than three million men had fought and more than 600,000 men had died but, finally, the war was winding to a close. The . . . Map (db m14797) HM
63Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Battle of White Oak RoadThe Battle of Lewis Farm
General Grant wanted to force his way around the Confederate right flank and cut the last remaining supply lines into Petersburg. The offensive began on March 29, 1865. Union Major General Philip H. Sheridan’s cavalry moved towards Dinwiddie Court . . . Map (db m14805) HM
64Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Battle of White Oak RoadMoving into Position
With their success at Lewis Farm, Union troops gained a foothold on one of Lee’s supply routes, the Boydton Plank Road. It was strategically necessary for the Federals to control this road because it was a major route Confederate General Robert E. . . . Map (db m14807) HM
65Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Battle of White Oak RoadMarch 31, 1865
Early on the morning of March 31, 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee sent most of a division forward to attack the Federals from this location at White Oak Road. Fighting through the morning, the Confederate brigades enveloped and put to flight . . . Map (db m14811) HM
66Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Battle of White Oak RoadThe Union Counterattack
As the fight progressed, the Confederates met stiffening resistance. Lee and his subordinates realized they had too few troops to hold their advanced position. They determined to withdraw to the slight earthworks constructed by the Federal soldiers . . . Map (db m14813) HM
67Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Battle of White Oak RoadBreaking the Line
The Battle of White Oak Road left the Federals in position to block Confederate reinforcements from reaching their comrades further west. Both the Battle of White Oak Road and the Battle of Dinwiddie Court House were preludes to the climactic April . . . Map (db m14816) HM
68Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Big HouseTudor Hall Plantation — Pamplin Historical Park —
This landscape re-creates elements of a typical Southside Virginia plantation during the mid-nineteenth century. Tudor Hall, an original nineteenth-century building, was at the center of a farm that supported the owner, his family, and their slaves. . . . Map (db m15438) HM
69Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Boisseau Family CemeteryTudor Hall Plantation
Many nineteenth-century Virginians buried deceased family members near their homes rather than in distant church yards. While we do not know when this cemetery was established, the only grave marker on this property belonged to Martha Eliza T. . . . Map (db m15450) HM
70Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The BreakthroughThe Breakthrough Trail — Pamplin Historical Park —
On the evening of April 1, 1865, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant issued orders for a massive attack against the Confederate lines defending Petersburg. Grant scheduled the assault for the following morning. In the pre-dawn darkness of April 2, . . . Map (db m15376) HM
71Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Breakthrough
Colonel Olcott and his regiment crossed the entrenchments about 350 yards to the northeast of this position (to your right) during their attack on April 2, 1865. His experience was similar to that of the Vermont troops who fought on this ground: . . . Map (db m89712) HM
72Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Breakthrough at Hart FarmThe Breakthrough Trail — Pamplin Historical Park —
“… after going through a leaden and war hail storm, thanks to the God of Battles, I am alive and happy. Our Corps charged the enemy’s lines last night, broke their line and drove them out of sight … I never felt more like fighting than I . . . Map (db m15390) HM
73Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Breakthrough TrailPamplin Historical Park
A walk along the Breakthrough Trail is a journey into history! On April 2, 1865, thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers clashed here to determine the fate of Petersburg and Richmond. The Breakthrough Trail leads past many original features of . . . Map (db m15393) HM
74Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Civil War YearsThe Banks House — Pamplin Historical Park —
“Christmas has come and gone. I spent it at Mrs. Banks’ where I had quite a sumptuous repast, finishing up with eggnog, cake, etc. I ate so much sponge cake that whenever you would touch me, it would be just like squeezing an India rubber . . . Map (db m11949) HM
75Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Confederate CounterattackThe Breakthrough Trail
Once the sixth Corps completed its Breakthrough, corps commander Horatio wright ordered seven of his eight brigades to pivot southwest and move against the remaining Confederate defenses north of Hatcher’s Run. Wright assigned just one brigade, . . . Map (db m89713) HM
76Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Confederate FortificationsThe Breakthrough Trail — Pamplin Historical Park —
The earthen wall in front of you is a part of the main Confederate defense line begun in 1864 and defended until April 2, 1865. You are standing behind the line facing southeast towards the Union positions about one mile away. When Lieutenant . . . Map (db m15415) HM
77Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Hart FarmThe Breakthrough Trail — Pamplin Historical Park —
This extension of The Breakthrough Trail leads to the historic Hart House, a ten minute walk from here. The trail parallels the Confederate earthworks that extended across the Boisseau farm (Tudor Hall) to the neighboring Hart farm to the southwest. . . . Map (db m15399) HM
78Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Hart HouseThe Breakthrough Trail — Pamplin Historical Park —
Charles H. Carr, a native of New York, purchased twenty acres from the Boisseaus of Tudor Hall in March 1859. He began construction of the house in front of you shortly afterwards. Carr died in July 1862 while enlisted in the Confederate army. In . . . Map (db m15404) HM
79Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Kitchen QuarterThe Banks House — Pamplin Historical Park —
The building before you is a rare example of an original slave quarter. Milled lumber and the exclusive use of cut nails suggests that it was built around 1840 to provide two slave families with a workroom and an overhead loft for storage or . . . Map (db m11956) HM
80Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Largest Fort
Fort Fisher was the largest of the more than 30 forts that studded the Union siege lines. It included nearly 2,000 feet of parapet and could mount 19 guns. The boom of a single gun in this fort on the morning of April 2, 1865, portended the fall of . . . Map (db m155597) HM
81Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Military LandscapePamplin Historical Park
Did you know the end of the American Civil War started here? On the morning of April 2, 1865 you would have been standing near the center of the battle that decided the nine-month campaign for Petersburg and Richmond. In the pre-dawn . . . Map (db m69934) HM
82Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — The Plantaton LandscapePamplin Historical Park
Life was a lot simpler back then…or was it? You are standing near the center of a once successful and productive mid-19th century farm. To your right is the main house, Tudor Hall, built in two stages before the Civil War. When the armies arrived . . . Map (db m69928) HM
83Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — Tobacco BarnTudor Hall Plantation
Nineteenth-century farmers cut tobacco plants and placed them on sticks to be cured in tobacco barns like this one. Curing, a four-week process, preserves plants by removing moisture, and brings out the aroma and flavor. Farmers in Dinwiddie County . . . Map (db m15449) HM
84Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — Tudor HallTudor Hall Plantation
William Boisseau, a tobacco farmer, constructed Tudor Hall around 1812. Originally two rooms wide and one room deep, this style of house was popular in Dinwiddie County during the late 1700s and early 1800s. In the 1850s Joseph G. Boisseau, . . . Map (db m15441) HM
85Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — Tudor Hall BarnTudor Hall Plantation
This building is a reproduction of a nineteenth-century barn located in Isle of Wright County, Virginia. Tidewater and Piedmont farmers constructed numerous small, inexpensive barns to support their work. Virginia’s mild climate made it unnecessary . . . Map (db m15442) HM
86Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — Tudor Hall Field QuarterTudor Hall Plantation — Pamplin Historical Park —
The environment in front of you recreates elements of a plantation Field Quarter of the 1800s. The slaves who provided agricultural labor on farms like Tudor Hall lived in areas like this in the years before the Civil War. The first slave dwelling . . . Map (db m15456) HM
87Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — S-49 — Where Hill Fell
In the field a short distance north of this road, the confederate General A.P. Hill was killed, April 2, 1865. Hill, not knowing that Lee's lines had been broken, rode into a party of Union soldiers advancing on Petersburg.Map (db m3594) HM
88Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — S-52 — White Oak Road
The extreme right of Lee’s line rested on this road, which was entrenched. General Warren, advancing against Lee’s works here, March 31, 1865, was driven back. Reinforced, Warren advanced again, forcing the Confederates to retire to the road. On it, . . . Map (db m14776) HM
89Virginia (Dinwiddie County), Petersburg — S-81 — White Oak Road Engagement31 March 1865
Union forces belonging to the V Corps, under Maj. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren, sought to seize the White Oak Road and sever the Confederate line of communication with Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett’s detachment near Five Forks, four miles west. From here . . . Map (db m14792) HM
90Virginia, Petersburg — “A Splendid Charge”
Here at Petersburg on June 15, 1864, African-American troops recorded their first major success of the war in Virginia. “They made a splendid charge…and won great favor in the eyes of white soldiers by their courage and . . . Map (db m7075) HM
91Virginia, Petersburg — “A Stupendous Failure”Petersburg National Battlefield — National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —
“It is agreed that the thing was a perfect success, except that it did not succeed.” - Major Charles F. Adams, Jr., USA The explosion cleared the Union path to Petersburg. But instead of pushing through, the first waves of . . . Map (db m7061) HM
92Virginia, Petersburg — 1864-1865: The Bombardment of Petersburg
A Unique History A local historian once wrote that "during its siege Petersburg endured an ordeal of shelling which was extraordinary in the history of the world." It was estimated that more than 800 buildings were struck during the . . . Map (db m149588) HM
93Virginia, Petersburg — A Fatal Error
A division of African-American troops in Burnside’s Ninth Corps was to have led the attack that followed the explosion of the mine. But just hours before the assault, Union army commander George G. Meade changed the plan. The result: chaos and . . . Map (db m7052) HM
94Virginia, Petersburg — A Final Effort
Desperate to relieve the Union noose strangling Petersburg, on March 25, 1865, General Lee used pre-dawn darkness and stealth to pierce the Union Line here at Fort Stedman. “We were very much elated at first, as we thought we had won a . . . Map (db m170966) HM
95Virginia, Petersburg — A.P. Hill Death Site
Spot where A. P. Hill was killed.Map (db m63392) HM
96Virginia, Petersburg — African-Americans in Petersburg
The Petersburg area has an extraordinarily rich African-American heritage. In 1625, most of the Africans in Virginia were servants at Flowerdew Hundred, nearby in Prince George County. In the 18th century, tens of thousands of newly enslaved . . . Map (db m57366) HM
97Virginia, Petersburg — Appomattox River Heritage Trail
Trail Sites 1. Pocahontas: In 1784, four small towns at the convergence of three counties (Pocahontas in Chesterfield, Blandford in Prince George, and Petersburg and Ravenscroft in Dinwiddie) were combined and incorporated as . . . Map (db m66952) HM
98Virginia, Petersburg — Architectural Heritage
Petersburg’s architectural heritage has a long and rich history, reflecting centuries of occupation by Native Americans and over 300 years of European settlement. Beginning as a frontier trading post with the Virginia Indians, Fort Henry was . . . Map (db m57338) HM
99Virginia, Petersburg — Artillery at Petersburg
"The campaign became quite scientific, so that after the first few weeks, we learned to tell by the sound the nature of every missile that passed over us, and knew which ones to dodge. The mortar shells had the most terror for us. The ordinary . . . Map (db m14602) HM
100Virginia, Petersburg — Arts & Recreation
Petersburg is in the midst of a downtown renaissance, fueled by the arts and driven by the creative spirit of the community. Historically a center of culture and trade for the region, Petersburg’s abundant natural resources and rich history are . . . Map (db m57369) HM

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May. 12, 2021