Nine and a half months, 70,000 casualties, the suffering of civilians, thousands of United States Colored Troops fighting for the freedom of their race, and the decline of Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of No. Virginia all describe the Siege of Petersburg. It was here Gen. Ulysses S. Grant cut off all of Petersburg's supply lines ensuring the fall of Richmond on April 3, 1865. Six days later, Lee surrendered.
The park commemorates the nine and one-half month siege of this city from June 1864 to 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.
Petersburg National Battlefield is open every day of the year except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Visitor Center and Contact Stations hours of operation are 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. Grounds open at 8:00 am. From January 1 - March 12, 2017 the grounds will be closed at 5:00 pm as well.
(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)
As of June 1, 2016, Petersburg National Battlefield will no longer collect entrance fees. We will also no longer issue or sell park passes.
Throughout the year park staff present a variety of talks, tours, living history demonstrations and special events that commemorate the park's rich heritage. 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.
Hiking and bicycle trails can be found at both the Eastern Front (Main) Unit and the Five Forks Battlefield Unit. Outdoor exhibits are located near these trails which will help you understand the historic significance of Petersburg National Battlefield.
Fishing is an activity available at the Grant's Headquarters Unit of Petersburg National Battlefield.
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.
Eastern Front Visitor Center: Ramps are available both to the lower level where the public restrooms are located, and to the upper level where both the museum and the auditorium are located. The park's 17 minute overview video is close captioned. In the Spring, 2015, new restrooms will be available with universally accessible stalls.
General Grant's Headquarters Visitor Contact Station: The main entrance on the west wing includes a ramp which also leads to the fully accessible restrooms. However, there is no paved trail leading to General Grant's cabin. Visitors have to travel across a flat grassy area to access the cabin.
Five Forks Visitor Contact Station: The entire building is universally accessible.
The historic trails located in the Eastern Front Unit at tour stops 1, 5 (Fort Stedman), & 8 (Crater) are paved, however, there are areas of these trails where wheelchairs are discouraged. For more information, please contact a Ranger at the Visitor Center or call Petersburg National Battlefield at (804) 732-3531.
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.