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 2020 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 (99% confidence level) 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. I have “tagged” every single army report for things like battles/skirmishes, dates, casualties, etc., allowing those reports to appear as links all across my site on the relevant date, battle, and unit pages.


  • 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 29, 1864 The Tioga County Agitator (Wellsboro, PA): The 45th PA Moves on Petersburg, June 12-20, 1864

September 24, 2020 June 1864

From the 45th Pennsylvania Regiment. ___ CAMP IN THE FIELD, (Near Petersburg, Va.,) June 20, 1864. Friend Cobb:—The plans of our Generals and the consequent movements of our armies, not only puzzle and keep in painful suspense the public mind, but often bewilder and astonish the army itself.  The private soldier, and even all but […]

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NP: June 28, 1864 Philadelphia Inquirer: Petersburg Express Account of June 17, 1864

September 23, 2020 June 1864

[SOPO Editor’s Note: I do not have a copy of the June 18, 1864 Petersburg Express. As a result, I have published this excerpt from the Philadelphia Inquirer as a partial replacement of the missing issue. It will remain here until/unless I obtain access to the original paper. This article covers the third day’s fighting […]

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NP: June 22, 1864 Petersburg Daily Express: Southern War Correspondents

September 22, 2020 June 1864

MEMBERS OF THE PRESS. The retreats of Grant from the Rapidan Anne [sic, Rapidan], have brought to our city, several members of the Press, who have been with our army from the beginning of the campaign. Yesterday we were favored with a visit from two of these gentleman [sic, gentlemen], who we hope will call […]

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NP: October 28, 1864 The Bedford Inquirer: 210th PA, West of Weldon RR, Oct. 7, 1864

September 21, 2020 October 1864

Letter from Lieut[enant]. [Hosea] Hudson. CAMP NEAR PETERSBURG Oct. 7th 1864.      Editor of the Inquirer.— I am on the extreme front, that being nothing but the skirmish line between us and the enemy. We are to the left of the Weldon R.R. in the 5th Corps. We are working on the intrenchments taken from […]

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NP: July 30, 1864 Richmond Examiner: Executions and a Promotion in Pickett’s Division, July 1864

September 18, 2020 July 1864

PICKETT’S DIVISION, IN TRENCHES, July 2[7?]th, 1864. TO THE EDITOR OF THE EXAMINER: No news except the execution of two men for attempted desertion to the enemy.  No sympathy and little curiosity was excited.  The crime produced only loathing with the division, and the punishment was regarded as merely a necessary police measure, ridding us […]

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NP: June 5, 1865 Weekly Oregon Statesman (Salem, Oregon): Union Scouts Battle Confederate Cavalry at Jones’ Ford, March 25, 1865

September 17, 2020 Postwar Newspapers

LETTER FROM A SOLDIER IN THE ARMY Balfour U.S. General Hospital, Portsmoruth [sic, Portsmouth], Va., April 14th, 1865 Dear Mother:   No doubt you have heard of my being wounded before this reaches you, as a kind lady wrote a letter for me at Point of Rocks when I was there.  She was connected with the […]

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NP: June 28, 1864 Philadelphia Inquirer: Who Bridged the James River, June 14-15, 1864

September 16, 2020 June 1864

WHO BRIDGED THE JAMES RIVER? —– Honor to the Successful Engineers. HEAD-QUARTERS ENGINEER BRIGADE, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, CAMP AT CITY POINT, Va., June 22, 1864. ED. PHILADA. INQUIRER:—In reply to the following remark made at the end of the editorial of your journal of the 20th instant [June 20, 1864], viz:—“At the point of […]

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NP: June 22, 1864 Petersburg Daily Express: Gary’s Cavalry Brigade Burns the James River Wharves, June 19, 1864

September 15, 2020 June 1864

Destruction of Yankee Wharves—Another Brilliant Cavalry Victory Reported. RICHMOND, June 21—The wharves at Wilcox’s Landing, Harrison’s Landing and Westover, all on the north side of James River, nearly opposite City Point, were totally destroyed by our cavalry on Sunday night [June 19, 1864]. The torch was applied by Col. Gary’s cavalry [brigade], and not a […]

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NP: October 21, 1864 The Bedford Inquirer: Co. H, 208th PA at the Siege of Petersburg, Late September 1864

September 14, 2020 October 1864

BUTLER’S FRONT, Va. Sept. 29, 1864. MR. EDITOR: Having a little leisure time, I write you to give your readers in Bedford County the doings of Co. H, 208th [Pennsylvania] Regiment. The officers of our Company are Capt. Harvey Wishart, 1st. Lieut. W[illia]m. G. Eicholz, 2nd Lieut. David Keagy. They are men worthy the position […]

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NP: July 30, 1864 Richmond Examiner: Casualties in Gary’s Cavalry Brigade, July 27, 1864

September 11, 2020 July 1864

LIST OF CASUALTIES In Gary’s cavalry brigade, in the affair of 27th June, at Tilghman’s farm1, Brigadier General [Martin W.] Gary, commanding2 Lieutenant F C[harles] Hume, acting Aid[e] de camp, supposed mortally wounded. Seventh South Carolina [Cavalry] regiment, Captain J[ohn] H Tucker, commanding—Company A—J J Evans, wounded slightly in hand. Company B—Wounded:  Sergeant C[hristopher] J […]

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