July 30, 2014 - August 2, 2014
Petersburg National Battlefield - Eastern Front
5001 Siege Road
Petersburg, VA 23803
The most famous battle of the Siege of Petersburg was the July 30, 1864 Battle of the Crater. Petersburg National Battlefield will commemorate that battle’s 150th Anniversary with a real-time event which will begin at 5:30am on Wednesday, July 30. Other events scheduled for that day include a Key Note Address at 10:00am, artillery demonstrations, and the United States Postal Service’s unveiling of the new 150th Anniversary commemorative stamp that pay tribute to the role of the United States Colored Troops during the Siege.
Events will continue on Friday, August 1 with Panel Presentations taking place in the City of Petersburg. At 10:00am, a three speaker panel will discuss the Battle of the Crater at Gillfield Baptist Church located at 209 Perry Street in Petersburg. At 1:0 pm, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church located at 10 Union Street in Petersburg, a two speaker panel will focus on the impact of the Siege of Petersburg on the citizens living in the city. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church will also be the location of a 7:00pm program featuring Historian Kevin Levin discussing the Battle of the Crater and Civil War Memory. Another Friday evening event will occur at the General Grant’s Headquarters Unit in Hopewell. The Tower Street String Band will perform folk/bluegrass music beginning at 6:00pm on the north lawn of Appomattox Plantation.
On Saturday, August 2, the park will provide a variety of events which will occur from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Family activity tent, Virginia History Mobile, a speaker tent featuring Civil War Historian and Author Ed Bearss, living history demonstrations, and Battle of the Crater stamp sales will all highlight the anniversary of one of the Civil War’s most brutal battles.
No visitor parking will be allowed in the park on August 2. Free shuttle service will transport visitors to and from the Eastern Front Unit. Shuttle buses will depart from the Farmer’s Market located at 9 Old Street in Petersburg. A parking area has been reserved near the South Side Train Depot. Visitor Guides with a full schedule of events are available at all three of the park’s visitor centers which are located at 5001 Siege Road, Petersburg, 1001 Cedar Lane in Hopewell, or 9840 Courthouse Road in Dinwiddie, or online at www.nps.gov/pete/planyourvisit/upload/PETE-150th-Vis-Guiderevmay2014.pdf.
About the Battle of the Crater
In June of 1864, after the Union Army’s initial attempts to take over Richmond’s main supply base at Petersburg failed, Pennsylvania soldiers came up with the idea of digging a tunnel under a portion of the Confederate defense line just to the east of Petersburg. Once under the Southern defenses, the former coal miners would load four tons of black powder underneath 300 Southern soldiers and would detonate it in the early morning hours of July 30, 1864. The goal of the attack which followed the explosion was for the Union IX Corps, under General Ambrose Burnside, to break through the hole in the defenses and gain access into Petersburg. Due to poor leadership and the resolve of determined Confederate troops, the Union Army failed and the battle became known as one of the most brutal and vicious battles of the entire Civil War.
If You Go
The Eastern Front Unit of Petersburg National Battlefield is the location where Union troops made their first major attacks on the City of Petersburg in mid-June, 1864. Today, visitors can learn more about the history of the site by touring the museum, viewing the 17 minute video, or travelling the Unit’s four mile, 7 stop tour road. There are also ten miles of nature trails suitable for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding. The Eastern Front Unit of Petersburg National Battlefield is located at 5001 Siege Road in Petersburg.
Petersburg National Battlefield was created in order to commemorate the campaign and siege and defense of Petersburg, Virginia, in 1864 and 1865. The park staff is committed to preserving and protecting thehistorical, cultural, and natural resources within the park in a manner that will provide interpretation, education, and enjoyment for the visitors. Park Visitor Centers, located in Petersburg, Hopewell, and Dinwiddie County are each open from 9:00am – 5:00pm. The fee to enter the park is $5 per vehicle. The Petersburg National Battlefield annual pass and federal recreation passes are also honored. For more information about events at Petersburg National Battlefield, you can become a fan on our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter @PetersburgNPS.
Battle of the Crater
A commemorative program will take place at the time of the explosion, a keynote address will be given at mid-day, and ranger tours will be provided in the morning and afternoon.
5:30am – 6:30am – Rangers will begin leading visitors to the site of the Battle of the Crater – Stop #8 and explaining the battle.
5:55am – Cannons will fire
7:00am – 3:00pm – Artillery Demonstrations, Rangers telling the story of the Battle
10:00am – 11:00am – Keynote Address
Following address, the U. S. Postal Service will unveil the new 150th Anniversary Battle of the Crater postage stamp.
Battle of the Crater - Panel Presentations
In the morning and afternoon two panel discussions, with three speakers each and a Q&A session, will be held in downtown Petersburg. One will address the battle and the other impacts of the siege on those living in the city.
Battle of the Crater - Living History Program
Living history programs on the battle, the soldiers and their weapons, and field medicine throughout the day. Watch Union & Confederate artillery in action and "meet" Generals Grant & Lee to hear their thoughts on this battle. The Virginia Civil War History mobile will be on hand and family activities will be available.
For more information please call (804) 732-3531 x200.