Alan's Teddy Bear Picnic Guide powered by ABE
Web Alan's Kitchen

FUN Trivia Quizzes | Grocery Shopping Tips | Picnic Menus | Picnic Tips

Home >> BEST Places to Picnic >> Virginia

 Picnic Menu Ideas & Planning
Picnic Menu Ideas & Planning

1000s of great recipes and picnic menu ideas

Food, Cooking, Picnic, Tailgate, & Backyard Recipes plus more...



Petersburg National Battlefield

Petersburg National Battlefield - BEST Placess to Picnic

5001 Siege Road
Petersburg, Virginia 23803

Visitor Information
(804) 732-3531 ext. 200

Explore Petersburg National Battlefield

Petersburg National Battlefield Park is located in south-central Virginia approximately 25 miles south of Richmond, Virginia. The park encompasses a large area with battlefield sites and visitor centers located in Dinwiddie, Hopewell and Prince George Counties.

The park commemorates the nine and one-half month siege of this city from June 1864 - April 1865. A driving tour of the battlefields outlined on the park map includes 13 separate sites with three visitor centers along a 33 mile route. A full day is required to experience the entire battlefield park.

The Eastern Front Visitor Center offers exhibits and audio-visual programs that introduce the story of the siege and its place and impact on the course of the Civil War. Park staff will answer questions and provide information to help you make the best use of your time. 

At Grant's Headquarters at City Point you will learn about the Union's massive supply base and large field hospital operation. Also explore the story of the Appomattox plantation, the Eppes family and their slaves who were here before the war's arrival. On the western end of the tour route is Five Forks Battlefield where Gen. Sheridan's victory over Gen. Pickett's forces ensured the collapse of Petersburg and Richmond.

Throughout the year park staff present a variety of talks, tours, living history demonstrations and special events that commemorate the park's rich heritage. Check the schedule of events for upcoming programs. Education programs are offered year-round and teachers are encouraged to contact the park's education coordinator at 804-732-3531 ext. 204 to schedule a visit.


Between May and mid-June of 1864 the Union army, under General Ulysses S. Grant, and the Confederate army, under General Robert E. Lee, engaged in a series of hard-fought battles in what is now called the Overland Campaign. Cold Harbor was the last battle of this campaign and was a crushing Union loss. This forced Grant to abandoned his plan to capture Richmond by direct assault.

The Key to Richmond
Only twenty-five miles south of Richmond, Petersburg was an important supply center to the Confederate capital. With it's five railroad lines and key roads, both Grant and Lee knew if these could be cut Petersburg could no longer supply Richmond with much needed supplies and subsistence. Without this Lee would be forced to leave both cities.

The Siege
Grant pulls his army out of Cold Harbor and crosses the James River heading towards Petersburg. For several days Lee does not believe Grant's main target is Petersburg and so keeps most of his army around Richmond. Between June 15-18, 1864 Grant throws his forces against Petersburg and it may have fallen if it were not for the Federal commanders failing to press their advantage and the defense put up by the few Confederates holding the lines. Lee finally arrives on June 18 and after four days of combat with no success Grant begins siege operations.

This, the longest siege in American warfare, unfolded in a methodical manner. For nearly every attack the Union made around Petersburg another was made at Richmond and this strained the Confederate's manpower and resources. Through this strategy Grant's army gradually and relentlessly encircled Petersburg and cut Lee's supply lines from the south. 

For the Confederates it was ten months of hanging on, hoping the people of the North would tire of the war. For soldiers of both armies it was ten months of rifle bullets, artillery, and mortar shells, relieved only by rear-area tedium, drill and more drill, salt pork and corn meal, burned beans and bad coffee.

By October 1864 Grant had cut off the Weldon Railroad and was west of it tightening the noose around Petersburg. The approach of winter brought a general halt to activities. Still there was the every day skirmishing, sniper fire, and mortar shelling.

In early February 1865 Lee had only 60,000 soldiers to oppose Grant's force of 110,000 men. Grant extended his lines westward to Hatcher's Run and forced Lee to lengthen his own thinly stretched defenses.

By mid-March it was apparent to Lee that Grant's superior force would either get around the Confederate right flank or pierce the line somewhere along it's 37-mile length. Th Southern commanders hoped to break the Union stranglehold on Petersburg by a surprise attack on Grant. This resulted in the Confederate loss at Fort Stedman and would be Lee's last grand offensive of the war.

The End
With victory near, Grant unleashed General Phillip Sheridan at Five Forks on April 1, 1865. His objective was the South Side Railroad, the last rail line into Petersburg. Sheridan, with the V Corps, smashed the Confederate forces under General George Pickett and opening access to the tracks beyond. On April 2, Grant ordered an all-out assault, and Lee's right flank crumbled. A Homeric defense at Confederate Fort Gregg saved Lee from possible street fighting in Petersburg. On the night of April 2, Lee evacuated Petersburg. The final surrender at Appomattox Court House was but a week away.


Although Petersburg National Battlefield was initially established to protect the historically significant areas around Petersburg, Virginia, the park also plays host to a diverse number of inhabitants and ecosystems. 

Located between the Atlantic Coastal plain and the Piedmont region of Western Virginia, Petersburg National Battlefield�s 2,659 acres varies from the wetlands of Hatcher's run at the Five Forks Battlefield to the combination of mixed hardwood/pine forests and open fields that encompass the park�s Eastern Front. 

City Point, a 22 acre unit at the confluence of the Appomattox and James Rivers, provides yet another uniquely beautiful asset to Petersburg National Battlefield. Overall, the park spreads out over four different localities; Prince George County, Dinwiddie County, the City of Hopewell, and the City of Petersburg.

As part of the National Park Service, a component of Petersburg National Battlefield�s mission is to preserve the natural resources present in the park. These natural resources include the park�s waterways, wetlands, vegetation, and wildlife. The location of the park's Eastern Front, forming a pocket of undeveloped land amongst urban development, makes the park�s natural resources mission that much more important. 

Many visitors come to the battlefield to use the miles of trails that bisect the park. Virginia�s high rate of population growth, especially in suburban areas, will undoubtedly continue to make the presence of Petersburg National Battlefield's park setting even more valuable to many of the visitors that frequent the battlefield.

With so many irreplaceable cultural resources, the park has the important, and often difficult, task of achieving a balance between the cultural and natural aspects of preservation. Many of the Civil War earthworks, forts, and vistas are kept clear to protect the cultural resources and enhance the visitor�s ability to interpret the siege that occurred around Petersburg.

Wildlife is abundant, and, in certain cases, very visible throughout the park. Deer, rabbit, skunk, groundhog, opossum, and raccoon are some of the most commonly seen species in the park. A variety of avian species frequent the park during different times of the year. Many species of fish, reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals have also been documented within the boundaries of Petersburg National Battlefield.

Page 1 of 1  More Stories

Powered by ... All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
Email | AlansKitchen Privacy Policy | Clair & Esther Eastep Save-A Park Foundation | Thank you

Contact Us | About Us | Site Map