The Siege of Petersburg Online

   

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DoVV1Pg391TheCraterJuly301864Welcome to The Siege of Petersburg Online, an information compilation site focusing on the Siege of Petersburg during the American Civil War. The Richmond-Petersburg Campaign was, rather than a true siege, a series of nine offensives by the Union forces against the Confederates defending Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia. The campaign for Petersburg lasted from June 15, 1864 until April 2, 1865, claiming 50,000 Union soldiers and 32,000 Confederates. The Siege of Petersburg has been criminally neglected in the study of the Civil War, and this site aims to partially rectify that lack of coverage.

 

Some of the more complete areas of the site as of February 2021 include:

  • Units Pages: Explore every regiment, battalion, battery, and ship which participated in the Siege of Petersburg.  These unit pages give you information on a unit, its commanders, how it fit into the army/navy organization over the Nine Offensives, how many men the unit had at a given time, and the numbers and types of weapons the unit was using.  Perhaps most importantly, a list of ALL of the posts on this site concerning a given unit appear at the bottom of that unit’s page.  All units present at the Siege from June 1864-April 1865 are present and accounted for.

 

  • 18640614PetersburgVAExpressP2C6Siege of Petersburg Newspaper Articles: I’m amassing new newspaper articles both during and after the war which describe events at the Siege of Petersburg. My main focus to start will be the articles from two daily papers, the Philadelphia Inquirer on the Union side, and the Richmond Examiner on the Confederate side.  I hope to move on two the big three New York dailies (Tribune, Times, Herald), a few Washington, DC papers, which will serve as the main sources for the official dispatches put out by the War Department, and the Petersburg Express, which I bought on microfilm and had digitized especially for this site!  The June 1864 section is particularly well represented, but the 150+ articles you see there are just the visible tip of the iceberg.  I have many, many more waiting to be transcribed and posted.  If you are interested in helping me transcribe newspaper articles, Contact me.

 

  • Crater Map Charge Issue 18Maps: I’ve been collecting all of the public domain maps I can find about the Siege of Petersburg.  Maps are grouped by Offensive and then by battle.  Sources include the Ed Bearss NPS Troop Movement Maps, Official Records, the Civil War Trust, Battles and Leaders, and old regimental histories from prior to 1923. I will be methodically adding new maps which are copyright free as I find them. If you know of available maps I can add to the site, please Contact me.

 

  • Battle Summaries: Are you interested in a specific battle from the Siege of Petersburg?  Look no further than my battle summary pages.  Each contains a brief description of the battle and gathers together a list of ALL of the posts on this entire site which refer to that specific battle.

 

  • 18640619 Elias Peck 10th CT Letter Page 2Letters & Diaries: There are thousands of soldier accounts of the Siege of Petersburg written in their own hand.  I have a very modest but always growing collection of letters and diaries from men who fought at the Siege of Petersburg.  If you know of any others I might be able to use, please Contact me.

 

  • Siege of Petersburg Official RecordsOfficial Records Reports: Every official report from the Siege of Petersburg from the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies in the War of the Rebellion, well over 1,000 reports, are included in this section.  Volume XL covers the period from June 12-July 31, 1864, including the Second Battle of Petersburg and the Crater.  Volume XLII covers the period from August 1-December 31, 1864, from the Fourth through the Seventh Offensives.  Battles include Globe Tavern, Second Ream’s Station, Fort Harrison and New Market Heights, Peebles Farm, the Darbytown Road battles, Boydton Plank Road, and Warren’s Stony Creek Raid.  Volume XLVI covers the action from January 1-April 9, 1865.  Battles include Hatcher’s Run, Dinwiddie Court House, Five Forks, the Breakthrough, Fort Gregg, and the Appomattox Campaign. Volume X, XI, and XII of the Navy Official Records will start appearing in 2021.

 

  • SouthernHistoricalSocietyPapersSouthern Historical Society Papers: I’ve only just scratched the surface here too, but the goal is to find, transcribe, and annotate every single article on the Siege of Petersburg from the 52-volume Southern Historical Society Papers. This source can be a bit biased due to postwar revisionism, and in many cases dates are incorrect, but it is a valuable source for the Confederate point of view. There are quite a few accounts of the Siege of Petersburg, including many of the lesser known battles.

 

  • National Tribune: For a Union veteran counterpart to the Southern Historical Society Papers, check out articles from the National Tribune, a postwar Union veterans newspaper filled with first person accounts from the Siege of Petersburg. Like the Southern Historical Society Papers, a lot of things tend to be “misremembered” in these accounts, especially as we get further away from the war.

Please consider signing up for The Siege of Petersburg Online’s RSS Feed, which will keep you updated on our progress over the years. I say years because the amount of data planned for this site is massive. For more great information, just left click on the Resources tab at the upper left hand corner of each and every page on the site.

We are always looking for submissions of information pertaining to the Siege of Petersburg. If you are a student of the Petersburg Campaign, please consider contributing as an author here. Use the Contact form at the top of the page if you have information we can use or if you are interested in writing here at The Siege of Petersburg Online.

We Need YOU to Contribute Siege of Petersburg Materials!

Note: If you currently have primary source materials of soldiers who fought in the Siege of Petersburg, we would like to feature those materials at Beyond the Crater.  Don’t be shy!  Many descendants of soldiers who fought around Richmond and Petersburg in 1864-65 have already contributed meaningful materials already published on this site.  Please use the Contact form at the top of the screen to let us know about any materials you would be willing to share.  Proper attribution and copyright protection will always be strictly enforced.  Your materials WILL make The Siege of Petersburg Online a more useful resource for all students of the Civil War.

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NP: June 17, 1864 Petersburg Daily Express: Telegraphic Reports, June 15-16

July 14, 2020 June 1864

TELEGRAPHIC REPORTS OF THE PRESS ASSOCIATION. From the Army of Northern Virginia. ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA via RICHMOND, June 16 [1864]—Grant’s whereabouts and intentions are still undetermined. A body of his cavalry attacked Gary’s Cavalry, of our army, this morning [June 16, 1864], near Malvern Hill, and were driven back. McIntosh’s brigade of Yankee cavalry […]

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NP: August 19, 1864 The Bedford Inquirer: 21st PA Cav and the Crater, July 30, 1864

July 13, 2020 August 1864

ARMY CORRESPONDENCE The Repulse at Petersburg-The Negroes Defended-Officers Responsible for the Failure. HEADQUARTERS COM. I, 21st PENN’A. CAVALRY. ARMY POTOMAC, August [4th?], 1864. MR. EDITOR: The anxious friends at home, who so wistfully look for good news from our army, and who eagerly grasp the papers and scan their pages to learn of the weal […]

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NP: July 27, 1864 Richmond Examiner: 162nd NY Captured and Sent to Libby Prison, July 25-26, 1864

July 10, 2020 July 1864

YANKEE PRISONERS to the number of thirteen were received at the Libby [Prison in Richmond] from Petersburg Monday [July 25, 1864].  Among them was one commissioned officer, Lieutenant-Colonel C[harles]. H. Hooper, Twenty-fourth Massachusetts regiment, captured by our forces at Deep Bottom, on Sunday [July 24, 1864], while placing pickets in our front. Yesterday [July 26, […]

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NP: June 24, 1864 Philadelphia Inquirer: Wilson’s Cavalry Division (3/Cav/AotP), June 16-18, 1864

July 8, 2020 June 1864

WILSON’S CAVALRY DIVISION. Junction with General Grant’s Army. THE FIELD, NEAR MOUNT ZENA CHURCH, VA., June 30.—At dusk, on the afternoon of the 16th instant [June 16, 1864], the pickets of the Third Division of cavalry [3/Cav/AotP], operating with General GRANT, were drawn in, and we fell back to the James River.  The enemy did […]

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NP: June 17, 1864 Petersburg Daily Express: Casualties of the Petersburg Militia, June 9, 1864

July 7, 2020 June 1864

THE LATE ASSAULT AND THE HEROIC MARTYRS WHO FELL. The [Petersburg] Christian Sun, a most excellent religious paper published in this city by the Rev. Wm. B. Wellons, and from whose columns we have frequently been enabled to interest the readers of the Express, has in its issue of yesterday [June 16, 1864], an account […]

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NP: August 12, 1864 The Bedford Inquirer: Gregg’s Cavalry Division at Samaria Church, June 24, 1864

July 6, 2020 August 1864

ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, NEAR PETERSBURG, VA., July 7th, 1864. DEAR EDITOR:— Perhaps a few lines from this part of the field of mars may not be unwelcome to your numerous readers. The citizens of your quiet town, no doubt, look anxiously for news from their numerous friends in the army. For more than two […]

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NP: July 27, 1864 Richmond Examiner: The War News, July 25

June 26, 2020 July 1864

THE WAR NEWS. The most important news we have is the report of a complete victory by our forces in the Valley, near Winchester. Information, believed to be authentick, was received here yesterday evening [July 26, 1864] that, last Sunday [July 24, 1864], our army fell upon the combined forces of Averill, Crook, Wright and […]

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NP: August 12, 1864 The Bedford Inquirer: 110th PA at First Deep Bottom, July 26-30, 1864

June 22, 2020 August 1864

ARMY CORRESPONDENCE. —– From Petersburg-Casualties in the 110th Regt. Penna. Vols. CAMP NEAR PETERSBURG, Va., July 31st, 1864. Mr. Editor:—Having a few leisure moments I shall employ them in giving you a short account of our few last days proceedings. On the 26th [of July 1864] we received orders to move, and by five P.M., […]

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NP: July 26, 1864 Richmond Examiner: The War News, July 24-25

June 19, 2020 July 1864

THE WAR NEWS. The most important news we have is that contained in the following despatch from General Hood: “ATLANTA, July 23, 1864. “HON. J. A. SEDDON SECRETARY OF WAR: “In the engagement yesterday [July 22, 1864] we captured eighteen stands of colours instead of five, and thirteen guns instead of twenty-two, as previously reported. […]

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NP: July 22, 1864 The Bedford Inquirer: 55th PA at Petersburg, early July 1864

June 15, 2020 July 1864

Letter from the 55th Regiment P[ennsylvania]. V[olunteers]. From a letter addressed to a friend in this place under the date of Vicinity of Petersburg, Virginia, July 8th, 1864, we make the following extracts for the benefit of those who have friends in that regiment: “It is so very warm here now that a man can […]

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