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.

 

  • 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.

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 20, 1864 Philadelphia Inquirer: The Battle of June 15 From the Petersburg Express

February 26, 2020 June 1864

[SOPO Editor’s Note: The following account, originally published in the June 16, 1864 Petersburg Express, covers the first day’s fighting at the Second Battle of Petersburg on June 15, 1864. These accounts from Petersburg papers are important to publish because they were so close to the fighting, and also because many of these issues of […]

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LT: September 15, 1864 Henry F. Young (7th Wisconsin)

February 24, 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 […]

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USS Banshee

February 23, 2020 Union Navy

Editor’s Note: Do you have information on this ship’s role at the Siege of Petersburg?  Please contact us using the Contact button in the menu at the top of the screen.  We are happy to exchange information with other researchers. Ship Information (from DANFS)1,2: Name: USS Banshee Type: Sidewheel Steamer Tonnage: 533 Length: 220’ Beam: […]

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MAP: The “Capture” of Petersburg, June 1864 (NP: Philadelphia Inquirer)

February 22, 2020 The 2nd Battle of Petersburg

1 Source: “The Capture of Petersburg.” Philadelphia Inquirer. June 18, 1864, p. 1 col. 3-5: Please not that this map is INCORRECT.  Petersburg was NOT captured in June 1864.  The map shows Union forces surrounding Petersburg.  It took the Union army many more troops and 9.5 months to actually get to the points depicted on […]

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NP: July 16, 1864 Richmond Examiner: The War News, July 11-15

February 21, 2020 July 1864

THE WAR NEWS. Nothing was talked of yesterday [July 15, 1864] but the invasion of Maryland, and by two o’clock in the evening reports were as abundant and sensational as ever we have known them.  This was the sum and substance of the stories which were eagerly circulated with countless variations.  Baltimore had been captured, […]

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MAP: The James River Movement (NP: Philadelphia Inquirer)

February 20, 2020 First Offensive

1 Source: “The James River Movement.” Philadelphia Inquirer. June 16, 1864, p. 1 col. 3-5 ↩

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USS Zouave

February 19, 2020 Union Navy

Editor’s Note: Do you have information on this ship’s role at the Siege of Petersburg?  Please contact us using the Contact button in the menu at the top of the screen.  We are happy to exchange information with other researchers. Ship Information (from DANFS)1,2: Name: USS Zouave Type: Screw Tug Tonnage: 127 Length: Not Listed. […]

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USS Young Rover

February 18, 2020 Union Navy

Editor’s Note: Do you have information on this ship’s role at the Siege of Petersburg?  Please contact us using the Contact button in the menu at the top of the screen.  We are happy to exchange information with other researchers. Ship Information (from DANFS)1,2: Name: USS Young Rover Type: Bark (Auxiliary Steamer) Tonnage: 418 Length: […]

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New York Light Artillery, 8th Battery

February 17, 2020 New York Artillery

Editor’s Note: Do you have information on this unit’s role at the Siege of Petersburg?  Please contact us using the Contact button in the menu at the top of the screen.  We are happy to exchange information with other researchers. Muster In: Organized at Newburg, N.Y., as a part of the 10th Legion, 56th Regiment […]

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USS Wilderness

February 17, 2020 Union Navy

Editor’s Note: Do you have information on this ship’s role at the Siege of Petersburg?  Please contact us using the Contact button in the menu at the top of the screen.  We are happy to exchange information with other researchers. Ship Information (from DANFS)1,2: Name: USS Wilderness Type: 390 Tonnage: 390 Length: 137’ Beam: 25’ […]

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