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The sleepy little town of Petersburg on the Appomattox River was a stronghold for Union forces during the Civil War. This was a center of manufacturing and its railroads were a link to the Confederate army’s supply lines. When General Ulysses S. Grant failed to capture Richmond in April 1864 he settled on surrounding Petersburg, cutting off General Robert E. Lee’s main line of supplies for his troops. The campaign became known as the Siege of Petersburg and it lasted for nine and a half months before Lee evacuated the town. The history here concentrates on that siege, the longest battle of any war since then. The actual battlefield now ...

The sleepy little town of Petersburg on the Appomattox River was a stronghold for Union forces during the Civil War. This was a center of manufacturing and its railroads were a link to the Confederate army’s supply lines. When General Ulysses S. Grant failed to capture Richmond in April 1864 he settled on surrounding Petersburg, cutting off General Robert E. Lee’s main line of supplies for his troops. The campaign became known as the Siege of Petersburg and it lasted for nine and a half months before Lee evacuated the town. The history here concentrates on that siege, the longest battle of any war since then. The actual battlefield now comes under the auspices of the National Park Service that gives tours year round and include historic sites such as Grant’s Headquarters at City Point, the Eastern Front, Five Forks Battlefield and Poplar Grove National Cemetery. Petersburg has several excellent museums that give the history of the area and the famous battle: the Siege Museum provides interpretations of life in Petersburg before, during and immediately after the Civil War; Centre Hill Museum is a Federal style mansion filled with American arts and crafts dating to the 18th century; Blandford Church built in 1735 is the oldest building in Petersburg, inside are stained glass windows, by Louis Comfort Tiffany, dedicated to the Confederacy.

Frances Folsom
About the Expert

Frances Folsom is the author of CitySpot Palermo, a contributor to the Reiskits guides to Milan and Italy's Lakes Region, and Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

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