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 March 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 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: March 31, 1865

March 31, 2015 150 Years Ago Today

March 31, 1865 The engagement at Dinwiddie Court-House, VA, where Maj. Gen. George Pickett, CSA, repels the attacks by Maj. Gens. Philip H. Sheridan, and Gouverneur Warren, USA, however retreating to Five Forks, which weakens the Petersburg, VA, line, which will ultimately help cause the final break in Lee’s defensive position. The engagement at the […]

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150 Years Ago Today: The Battle of Dinwiddie Court House: March 31, 1865

March 31, 2015 150 Years Ago Today

March 31, 1865: Sheridan Survives a Confederate Counterattack Note: Click here for maps on the Battle of Dinwiddie Court House. The Battle of Dinwiddie Court House was fought on March 31, 1865, 150 years ago today, along with the Battle of White Oak Road.  This day’s actions were the twin penultimate battles of the Five […]

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150 Years Ago Today: The Battle of White Oak Road: March 31, 1865

March 31, 2015 150 Years Ago Today

March 31, 1865: Lee Punishes a Probing Fifth Corps…But Is Forced to Fall Back The Battle of White Oak Road was fought on March 31, 1865, 150 years ago today, along with the Battle of Dinwiddie Court House.  This day’s actions were the twin penultimate battles of the Five Forks “mini-campaign,” and caused the fateful […]

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LT: March 31, 1865 Robert E. Lee

March 31, 2015 Lee Robert E.

No. 199. [Telegram] (Copy) Head Qrs. Mar 31/65. Hon. Secretary Of War, Genl. Taylor reports enemy has commenced the siege of the Eastern defences of Mobile. Our fire, so far, is superior. Our casualties few and slight. On the 28th. the Federal fleet attempted to co-operate in the attack, but was driven off. One Monitor was sunk on the Western […]

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LT: March 31, 1865 Theodore Lyman

March 31, 2015 Lyman Theodore

March 31, 1865 The rain held up about ten A.M. and the sun once more shone. By this time our lines, running east and west, had been moved due north, till they rested their right on Hatcher’s Run, north of the Crow house, and their left on the Boydton plank, near the entrance of the Quaker road. For […]

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NP: April 3, 1865 Richmond Examiner: Operations on the Southside, March 28-31, 1865

March 31, 2015 April 1865

Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Jackie Martin. OPERATIONS ON THE SOUTHSIDE—ATTEMPT OF GRANT TO REACH THE RAILROAD.      The Petersburg EXPRESS says Grant has been attempting with all his might to extend his left, and reach, if possible, the Southside railroad.—He is reported to have forty thousand men on the field—two or three […]

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150 Years Ago Today at Petersburg: March 30, 1865

March 30, 2015 150 Years Ago Today

March 30, 1865 Grant’s Ninth Offensive against Petersburg and Richmond hits a lull as heavy rain falls all day. Skirmish near Five Forks, VA, the Richmond, VA, Campaign. Skirmishes on the line of Hatcher’s Run and Gravelly Run, VA, the Richmond, VA, Campaign. Note: All “Today In The Petersburg Campaign” blog entries are used with […]

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150 Years Ago Today: A Lull Before the Storm: March 30, 1865

March 30, 2015 150 Years Ago Today

March 30, 1865: Rain Causes a Lull Rain filled the air on March 30, 1865, 150 years ago today at the Siege of Petersburg.  While there was no major fighting today, the last time this would be true until Petersburg and Richmond fell, key decisions were made and some movements launched which would influence events […]

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LT: March 30, 1865 Ansel Bartlett (58th Massachusetts)

March 30, 2015 Soldier Studies Collection

Editor’s Note: The Soldier Studies web site (http://www.soldierstudies.org) collects and publishes letters written during the Civil War. Owner/editor Chris Wehner was kind enough to grant me written permission to publish a selection of letters from his site which focus on the Siege of Petersburg.  Look for letters to appear here during the 150th anniversary of the Siege of […]

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LT: March 30, 1865 Robert E. Lee

March 30, 2015 Lee Robert E.

No. 198. [Telegram] (Copy) Head Qrs. Mar. 30/65. Hon. Secy. War, Genl. Gordon reports that the enemy, at 11 P.M. yesterday [March 29, 1865], advanced against a part of his line defended by Brig. Genl. Lewis, but was repulsed. The line of Artillery and Mortars continued for several hours with considerable activity. No damage on our lines reported.1 The enemy still […]

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