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 2020 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 (99% confidence level) 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. Volume X, XI, and XII of the Navy Official Records will start appearing in 2021. I have “tagged” every single army report for things like battles/skirmishes, dates, casualties, etc., allowing those reports to appear as links all across my site on the relevant date, battle, and unit pages.

 

  • 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. Like the Southern Historical Society Papers, a lot of things tend to be “misremembered” in these accounts, especially as we get further away from the war.

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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“The Whole Affair Was a Fiasco”: The Action at Howlett’s Bluff from the Confederate Perspective, June 21, 1864 by William H. Parker

March 4, 2021 Battle Accounts

SOPO Editor’s Note: Captain William H. Parker served with the Confederate James River Squadron during the Siege of Petersburg.  Their role was to protect Richmond from attack by the Union Navy.  Parker wrote about his service in the United States and Confederate navies in the book Recollections of a Naval Officer, 1841-1865, published in 1883.  […]

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ORN Series 1, Vol. X: Telegram from Acting Rear-Admiral Samuel P. Lee, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, June 21, 1864

March 3, 2021 Naval Volume X

Engagement of Federal fleet with Confederate ironclads and shore batteries at Howlett’s, June 21, 1864. [Telegram.] Flagship Malvern, Farrar’s Island, June 21, 1864—11 p. m. (Via Fort Monroe, 4: 30 p. m., 22d. Received 6: 45 p. m.) About noon enemy opened fire from Howlett’s Battery and from his ironclads and gunboats, which were concealed from view above Dutch Gap. […]

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MAP: Action at Howlett’s Bluff, June 21, 1864

March 2, 2021 Other Siege of Petersburg Maps

1 Comments on the Map “Action at Howlett’s Bluff, June 21, 1864” I started with a base map found between pages 632 and 633 (and still represented as folded together at Google Books!) of Volume 11 of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. Luckily, a passable […]

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MAP: Union Monitors Shell the Howlett’s Farm Area, June 19, 1864

March 1, 2021 Other Siege of Petersburg Maps

1 Comments on the Map “Union Monitors Shell the Howlett’s Farm Area, June 19, 1864” I started with a base map found between pages 632 and 633 (and still represented as folded together at Google Books!) of Volume 11 of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. […]

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Upcoming Posts on the Action at Howlett’s Bluff, June 21, 1864

February 28, 2021 News and Notes

In the upcoming weeks I’ll be posting numerous items pertaining to the little known June 21, 1864 Action at Howlett’s Bluff.  These include Union and Confederate reports and telegrams from Volume 10 of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, a look at June 19-21, 1864 through […]

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ORN Series 1, Vol. X: Report of Acting Master William B. Sheldon, U. S. S. Shokokon, May 28-June 23, 1864

February 28, 2021 Naval Volume X

[Report of Acting Master William B. Sheldon, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. S. Shokokon, of cooperative engagements in Pamunkey River, June 21, 1864, including Summary of Shokokon‘s Movements from May 28 to June 23, 1864] [Subenclosure C] U. S. S. SHOKOKON, Cumberland, Va., June 21, 1864.  Sir: I would respectfully submit the following report: This morning, 8:30 a.m., just […]

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LT: December 25, 1864 John A. Mayers (99th Pennsylvania)

February 26, 2021 Mayers John A.

BACK TO JOHN A. MAYERS LETTERS PAGE Happy New Year to You All Camp 99th Reg[imen]t. Penn[sylvani]a Vet[eran]. Vol[enteer]s Left of Petersburg Va December 25th 1864 Dear Sister [Rose], As I have nothing to occupy my mind, I sit down to write you a few lines to let you know how I have spent the […]

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ORN Series 1, Vol. X: General Orders No. 10, Brigadier General John J. Abercrombie, White House Landing, June 20, 1864

February 24, 2021 Naval Volume X

[General Orders No. 10, U. S. Forces White House, Va.] [Subenclosure B.] General Orders No. 10.] Headquarters U. S. Forces, White House, Va., June 20, 1864. The undersigned hereby relinquishes the command of the troops at this station to Brigadier-General George W. Getty. In doing so he avails himself of this opportunity of expressing his high appreciation of the services of his staff […]

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NP: April 14, 1865 The Bedford Inquirer: 138th PA at the Breakthrough, April 2, 1865

February 22, 2021 April 1865

ARMY CORRESPONDENCE. CAMP OF THE 138TH P[ENNSYLVANIA]. V[OLUNTEERS]. IN THE FIELD, 15 MILES SOUTHWEST OF PETERSBURG, VA, April 4, 1865. DEAR ———: I will inform you that there was a great battle fought on Sunday the 2nd inst[ant] [April 2, 1865].1 I know that the news of the fight has reached Bedford ere this, but […]

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ORN Series 1, Vol. X: Report of Acting Master Newell Graham, commanding U. S. S. Cactus, June 20, 1864

February 21, 2021 Naval Volume X

[Report of Acting Master N. Graham, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. S. Cactus, of cooperative engagements in Pamunkey River, June 20, 1864] [Subenclosure A.] U. S. S. Cactus, White House, June 20, 1864. Sir: I have the honor to report that at 9 o’clock, by your order, I commenced firing my rifled 30-pounder upon the rebel batteries that […]

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