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 21, 1864 Philadelphia Inquirer: The Siege of Petersburg, June 17-18

April 8, 2020 June 1864

THE SIEGE OF PETERSBURG. Operations of Saturday – Affairs Progressing Favorably – The Situation – Nearing the City – Details of the Assault by the Third Division of the Ninth Corps – Terrible Fighting in the Rifle-pits – The Enemy Driven from Every Line – The Casualties. Special Correspondence of the Inquirer. Before Petersburg, Saturday […]

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LT: October 22, 1864 Henry F. Young (7th Wisconsin)

April 6, 2020 Young Henry F.

SOPO Editor’s Note: Captain Henry F. Young of the 7th Wisconsin wrote twenty letters while at the Siege of Petersburg from June to December 1864. Researcher Roy Gustrowsky transcribed this letter from the original at the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison, Wisconsin.  He is currently in the process of writing a regimental history of the […]

Read the full Siege of Petersburg article →

NP: June 14, 1864 Petersburg Daily Express: Local Matters, June 9-13

April 5, 2020 June 1864

LOCAL MATTERS. “SHAK[E]SPEARE ON A RAID”—One of the most amusing instances of the war occurred in this city on Thursday last, during the excitement consequent upon the sudden attack of the enemy under Kautz and Speare on Petersburg [on June 9, 1864]. The spirit of the immortal Shak[e]speare, could it have witnessed the scene would […]

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NP: July 19, 1864 Richmond Examiner: The War News, July 9-18

April 3, 2020 July 1864

THE WAR NEWS. An official despatch received at the War Office yesterday morning [July 18, 1864] announces that the Confederate forces that appeared in front of Washington on last Tuesday [July 12, 1864], re-crossed the Potomac on Thursday the 14th instant [July 14, 1864], bringing off everything safely and in good order.  The despatch also […]

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NP: June 20, 1864 Philadelphia Inquirer: A Sketch of Petersburg

April 1, 2020 June 1864

SOPO Editor’s Note: As the country realized Petersburg, Virginia would be the scene of prolonged fighting, newspapers scrambled to acquaint readers with the city and its surroundings.  The Inquirer even published a map of Petersburg on June 18, 1864, incorrectly showing its capture. Sketch of Petersburg.      The last GAZETTEER1 account of this city says:—Petersburg, […]

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LT: October 21, 1864 Henry F. Young (7th Wisconsin)

March 30, 2020 Young Henry F.

SOPO Editor’s Note: Captain Henry F. Young of the 7th Wisconsin wrote twenty letters while at the Siege of Petersburg from June to December 1864. Researcher Roy Gustrowsky transcribed this letter from the original at the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison, Wisconsin.  He is currently in the process of writing a regimental history of the […]

Read the full Siege of Petersburg article →

NP: June 14, 1864 Petersburg Daily Express: From the Petersburg Front, June 13

March 29, 2020 June 1864

FROM THE [PETERSBURG] FRONT. Up to a late hour yesterday evening [June 13, 1864], all was quiet along our lines in Chesterfield [on the Bermuda Hundred front]. The Yankees over there are all the time in motion doing something, but what this something is, cannot be definitely ascertained. The work on the Observatory is progressing, […]

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NP: July 18, 1864 Richmond Examiner: Richmond City Intelligence, July 16-17

March 27, 2020 July 1864

CITY INTELLIGENCE. [SOPO Editor’s Note: Portions of this article not pertaining to the Siege of Petersburg were not transcribed here.] IN THE CASTLE AGAIN—J. H. Head, livery man, is in Castle Thunder again, upon the old charge, that of engaging to put parties outside of the “rebellion” by putting them inside of the Yankee lines. […]

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NP: June 20, 1864 Philadelphia Inquirer: Associated Press Accounts, June 17-18

March 25, 2020 June 1864

FURTHER BY ASSOCIATED PRESS. The Attack on Petersburg—Shells Thrown into the City. HEAD-QUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, June 18, 8 A. M.—The attack, made yesterday morning [June 17, 1864], on the enemy’s lines by [Ninth Corps commander] General [Ambrose] BURNSIDE, was more successful than at first reported.  He drove them from two lines of rifle-pits, […]

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LT: October 13, 1864 Henry F. Young (7th Wisconsin)

March 23, 2020 Young Henry F.

SOPO Editor’s Note: Captain Henry F. Young of the 7th Wisconsin wrote twenty letters while at the Siege of Petersburg from June to December 1864. Researcher Roy Gustrowsky transcribed this letter from the original at the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison, Wisconsin.  He is currently in the process of writing a regimental history of the […]

Read the full Siege of Petersburg article →