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: March 2, 1865

March 2, 2015 150 Years Ago Today

March 2, 1865 The Federal occupation of Staunton, VA, by Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, USA. The Engagement at Waynesboro, VA, where Brig. Gen. George Armstrong Custer, USA, completely routs the Confederates under Lieut. Gen. Jubal A. Early, CSA, capturing over 1,000 and over 200 wagons of supplies.  The Confederates easily gave way which indicates […]

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LT: March 2, 1865 Samuel K. Miller

March 2, 2015 Miller Samuel K.

March 2, 1865 Headquarters 9th Army Corps [Virginia] #31 Dear I received your letter of the 19th on the first day of the present month, which found me in very good health. I was very glad indeed to hear from you all again. Also glad that you and the boys are in good health. I […]

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LT: March 2, 1865 Luther Rice Mills (26th Virginia)

March 2, 2015 Mills Luther R.

Luther Rice Mills to John Mills Trenches Near Crater March 2nd, 1865. BROTHER JOHN: Something is about to happen. I know not what. Nearly every one who will express an opinion says Gen’l Lee is about to evacuate Petersburg. The authorities are having all of the cotton, tobacco &c. moved out of the place as […]

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LT: March 2, 1865 Theodore Lyman

March 2, 2015 Lyman Theodore

March 2, 1865 It was raw yesterday, or chilly rather, without being cold, and to-day we are favored by a persistent northeast rain, such as we had a month later than this at Culpeper. The season, I should fancy, is earlier here than at Culpeper— very likely by two weeks or more. Indeed last night […]

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150 Years Ago Today at Petersburg: March 1, 1865

March 1, 2015 150 Years Ago Today

March 1, 1865 Skirmish at Mount Crawford, VA, as Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, USA, and Brig. Gen. Wesley Merritt, USA, Union Cavalry meet up with Lieut. Gen. Jubal Early, CSA. Major General George G. Meade returns to the Siege of Petersburg and the Army of the Potomac.  He had been on leave of absence […]

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LT: March 1, 1865 Theodore Lyman

March 1, 2015 Lyman Theodore

SOPO Editor’s Note: Lyman letter editor George Agassiz provides a short narrative to touch on what Lyman was away, when he returned, and the strategic situation upon the ADC’s return to the front.  Today’s entry does not contain any words written by Theodore Lyman. *** As the Army of the Potomac was now settling down […]

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150 Years Ago Today at Petersburg: February 28, 1865

February 28, 2015 150 Years Ago Today

February 28, 1865 Orders are given for Major General Phil Sheridan’s cavalry expedition from the Shenandoah Valley to set off at 6 am on March 1. Jefferson Davis encourages General Robert E. Lee to meet with Ulysses S. Grant if what General Order has told General Longstreet is true (it isn’t). General Robert E. Lee […]

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150 Years Ago Today at Petersburg: February 27, 1865

February 27, 2015 150 Years Ago Today

February 27, 1865 Federal expedition from Winchester, VA, to the front of Petersburg, VA.  2/27-3/28/1865. Maj. Gen. Philip Henry Sheridan’s US command starts from Winchester, VA, to Petersburg, VA, as Brig. Gen. Wesley Merritt, USA, moves with 10,000 Union Cavalry to operate against the Virginia Central Railroad and the James River Canal.  Merritt is also […]

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150 Years Ago Today at Petersburg: February 26, 1865

February 26, 2015 150 Years Ago Today

February 26, 1865 Brigadier General Thomas A. Smyth , commanding Second Division, Second Corps, Army of the Potomac, is ordered to the command of his former brigade once Brigadier General William Hays arrives to take over command of the division. Note: All “Today In The Petersburg Campaign” blog entries are used with permission from Ronald […]

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Ed Bearss Crater Troop Movement Maps

February 26, 2015 News and Notes

A few days ago I shared the news that I had finally obtained the detailed troop movement maps Ed Bearss created for Petersburg National Battlefield. In that post, I shared several zoomed in sections of the first map focusing on the October 27, 1864 Battle of Boydton Plank Road.  There are over 60 maps in […]

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