The Siege of Petersburg Online

 

Welcome 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.

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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. Check out the Siege of Petersburg Resources link at the top of the page for just a glimpse of what is in store here.

Some of the more complete areas of the site as of July 2015 include:

  • 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.
  • Units Pages: Explore every regiment, battalion, and battery which participated in the Siege of Petersburg.  These unit pages give you information on a unit, its commanders, how it fit into the army organization over the Nine Offensives, how many men the unit had at a given time, and the 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.  There are a few non-line units and the Confederate Second Corps still to post.  Otherwise all units present at the Siege from June-August 1864 are present and accounted for.
  • Official 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.
  • Maps: 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.
  • Siege of Petersburg Newspaper Articles: I’m amassing new newspaper articles both during and after the war which describe events at the Siege of Petersburg.  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.
  • Southern 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.
  • 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.
  • Letters & 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.

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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What are your Top 10 Gettysburg Books? See what a panel of bloggers said recently.

LT: August 18, 1864 Cornelius Houghtaling

June 26, 2018 Houghtaling Cornelius

Editor’s Note: I would like to thank Melissa Mastronardi, the great great granddaughter of Cornelius Houghtaling, for granting me written permission to publish her ancestor’s letter.  This letter, including the images and the transcription, are owned by Melissa’s mother Diane Newman Mastronardi and may not be reproduced without her written permission.  All rights reserved. Page 1 […]

Read the full Siege of Petersburg article →

Challenges of Command in the Civil War: Generalship, Leadership, and Strategy at Gettysburg, Petersburg, and Beyond, Volume 1: Generals and Generalship by Richard J. Sommers

June 24, 2018 Other

Challenges of Command in the Civil War: Generalship, Leadership, and Strategy at Gettysburg, Petersburg, and Beyond, Volume 1: Generals and Generalship by Richard J. Sommers SOPO’s Take: Richard J. Sommers, author of the excellent Richmond Redeemed: The Siege of Petersburg, which covers the Fifth Offensive at Petersburg, returns to Savas Beatie with a two volume series on […]

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Petersburg to Appomattox: The End of the War in Virginia edited by Caroline E. Janney

June 24, 2018 Other

Petersburg to Appomattox: The End of the War in Virginia edited by Caroline E. Janney SOPO’s Take: This long-awaited book in the Gary Gallagher/UNC Press essay series takes a look at the middle and end of the Petersburg Campaign through Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, covering essentially “Grant vs. Lee” from August 1, 1864-April 9, 1865. […]

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A Campaign of Giants: The Battle for Petersburg, Volume 1: From the Crossing of the James to the Crater by A. Wilson Greene

June 24, 2018 Petersburg Campaign Overviews

A Campaign of Giants: The Battle for Petersburg, Volume 1: From the Crossing of the James to the Crater by A. Wilson Greene BTC’s Take: The first of three planned volumes covering the entire, massive Siege of Petersburg from beginning to end by longtime Petersburg student, Park Ranger at Petersburg, and Superintendent of Pamplin Park A. […]

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July 17, 1864 Sunday Mercury (New York): 95th NY at the Second Battle of Petersburg, June 18, 1864

June 24, 2018 July 1864

Editor’s Note: This letter to the Sunday Mercury appears here due to Bill Styple’s fantastic book Writing and Fighting the Civil War, which is where I first learned about these amazing soldier letters.  You can purchase a copy of Writing and Fighting the Civil War at Belle Grove Publishing. Ninety-Fifth Regiment, N. Y. V. [Special […]

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July 10, 1864 Sunday Mercury (New York): USS Hydrangea and the Action at Howlett’s Bluff, June 21, 1864

June 23, 2018 July 1864

Editor’s Note: This letter to the Sunday Mercury appears here due to Bill Styple’s fantastic book Writing and Fighting the Civil War, which is where I first learned about these amazing soldier letters.  You can purchase a copy of Writing and Fighting the Civil War at Belle Grove Publishing. United States Steamer Hydrangea. [Special Correspondence […]

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July 10, 1864 Sunday Mercury (New York): 48th NY Guards the 18th Corps Trains, June 1864

March 31, 2017 July 1864

Editor’s Note: This letter to the Sunday Mercury appears here due to Bill Styple’s fantastic book Writing and Fighting the Civil War, which is where I first learned about these amazing soldier letters.  You can purchase a copy of Writing and Fighting the Civil War at Belle Grove Publishing. Forty-eighth Regiment, N. Y. Vols. [Special […]

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July 10, 1864 Sunday Mercury (New York): 25th NY Cavalry at the Siege of Petersburg, Early July 1864

March 24, 2017 July 1864

Editor’s Note: This letter to the Sunday Mercury appears here due to Bill Styple’s fantastic book Writing and Fighting the Civil War, which is where I first learned about these amazing soldier letters.  You can purchase a copy of Writing and Fighting the Civil War at Belle Grove Publishing. Twenty-fifth N. Y. Cavalry. [Special Correspondence […]

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July 10, 1864 Sunday Mercury (New York): 12th NY Folded Into 5th NY Veteran

March 17, 2017 July 1864

Editor’s Note: This letter to the Sunday Mercury appears here due to Bill Styple’s fantastic book Writing and Fighting the Civil War, which is where I first learned about these amazing soldier letters.  You can purchase a copy of Writing and Fighting the Civil War at Belle Grove Publishing. Twelfth New York State Voluteers. [Special […]

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July 10, 1864 Sunday Mercury (New York): 12th U. S. Infantry at the Siege of Petersburg, Early July 1864

March 10, 2017 July 1864

Editor’s Note: This letter to the Sunday Mercury appears here due to Bill Styple’s fantastic book Writing and Fighting the Civil War, which is where I first learned about these amazing soldier letters.  You can purchase a copy of Writing and Fighting the Civil War at Belle Grove Publishing. Twelfth U. S. Infantry HEAD-QUARTERS, IN […]

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