The Siege of Petersburg Online

The Battle of Fort Gregg Petersburg National Battlefield, Virginia "Shoot and Be Damned"

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.

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 January 2014 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 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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150 Years Ago Today at Petersburg: December 17, 1864

December 17, 2014 150 Years Ago Today

December 17, 1864 George G. Meade orders a 100 gun salute along the lines at Petersburg at sunrise to celebrate George Thomas’ victory over John Bell Hood at the Battle of Nashville. Artillery skirmishes involving Union Fort Sedgwick and Fort Morton. Note: All “Today In The Petersburg Campaign” blog entries are used with permission from […]

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150 Years Ago Today at Petersburg: December 16, 1864

December 16, 2014 150 Years Ago Today

December 16, 1864 Grimes’ Division, Second Army Corps, Army of Northern Virginia arrives at the Siege of Petersburg from the Shenandoah Valley. Artillery skirmish involving Union Fort Rice, Fort Morton, and Fort Avery on the Ninth Corps front. First Brigade, Second Division, Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac, which had been escorting the Sixth Corps […]

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150 Years Ago Today at Petersburg: December 15, 1864

December 15, 2014 150 Years Ago Today

December 15, 1864 No major events at the Siege of Petersburg today. Note: All “Today In The Petersburg Campaign” blog entries are used with permission from Ronald A. Mosocco’s Chronological Tracking of the American Civil War per the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion. Order the book HERE. Copyright © 1993, 1994 by […]

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NP: December 15, 1864 Richmond Examiner: The USS Dictator Scares Richmond

December 15, 2014 December 1864

Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Brett Schulte. LATEST NEWS FROM THE NORTH. —– FROM GRANT’S ARMY. There is no news from Grant’s army. But the New York Times has the following significant paragraph: The Dictator, Commodore John Rodgers commanding, made a short trial trip to the lower bay on Tuesday, and expended some […]

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LT: December 15, 1864 Theodore Lyman

December 15, 2014 Lyman Theodore

SOPO Editor’s Note: Theodore Lyman received a 300 day leave of absence from Meade in mid-December 1864 with the understanding that he would return for the spring campaign in 1865.  As a result, he was away from the Siege of Petersburg until early March 1865.  The Lyman letters you’ve grown accustomed to here over the […]

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150 Years Ago Today at Petersburg: December 14, 1864

December 14, 2014 150 Years Ago Today

December 14, 1864 Maj. Gen. Edward O. C. Ord, USA, is in temporary command of the Army of the James, the Richmond, VA, Campaign. Grimes’ Division, Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, departs the Shenandoah Valley en route to the Siege of Petersburg. Note: All “Today In The Petersburg Campaign” blog entries are used with […]

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LT: December 14, 1864 Robert E. Lee

December 14, 2014 Lee Robert E.

No. 173. [Telegram] Telegram in Cipher. Petersburg Dec. 14 1864. His Exc[ellenc]y. The President. Chief Commissary of this Army received notice yesterday from Richmond that there was no salt meat there to send him, but would forward preserved meat. He thinks he may get enough to last tomorrow. Neither meat nor corn are now coming over […]

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LT: December 14, 1864 Samuel K. Miller

December 14, 2014 Miller Samuel K.

December 14, 1864 Army of the Potomac, Petersburgh, Virginia #18 Dear Silence, I received your letter of the 4th yesterday, which was the 13th also finding me in good health. The last time I wrote you we had marching orders. On Friday evening [December 9, 1864] about dark we all pulled up stakes, as we […]

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LT: December 14, 1864 Theodore Lyman

December 14, 2014 Lyman Theodore

December 14, 1864 General Winthrop [in speaking of Warren’s operations]1 said his brigade bivouacked in a cornfield; it blew, snowed and sleeted all night, and when reveille beat in the morning, you could only see what seemed a field full of dead bodies, each covered with a rubber blanket and encased with ice. Some of […]

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150 Years Ago Today at Petersburg: December 13, 1864

December 13, 2014 150 Years Ago Today

December 13, 1864 No major events at the Siege of Petersburg today. Note: All “Today In The Petersburg Campaign” blog entries are used with permission from Ronald A. Mosocco’s Chronological Tracking of the American Civil War per the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion. Order the book HERE. Copyright © 1993, 1994 by […]

Read the full Siege of Petersburg article →