Historian: Emmanuel Dabney
Description: (Limited Walking) Join Park Ranger Emmanuel Dabney on an overview tour of some of the sites and battlefields associated with the Petersburg Campaign. The trip will begin at the Grant’s Headquarters at City Point unit of Petersburg National Battlefield where participants will learn about the 1864-1865 use of the site by the Federal troops and see Ulysses Grant’s headquarters’ cabin; but they will also understand the causes and consequences of the war on an elite family’s plantation and the enslaved laborers who lived and worked on the property. We will then head to the Eastern Front unit of the park and make stops at Confederate Battery 5 and the site of Confederate Battery 9 to discuss the June 15, 1864 attack on Petersburg. We will have a quick conversation about soldier life during the 9 ½ months of the campaign.
After a break for lunch, participants will then stand on the field where Federal heavy artillerists suffered staggering casualties on June 18, 1864 and on the same land where Robert E. Lee launched his last major offensive of the war in March 1865. Our most strenuous walking will be on the Crater battlefield to discuss the events surrounding the July 30, 1864 battle. The tour continues south of the city, including a brief stop at Fort Wadsworth to discuss the Battle of Weldon Railroad in August 1864, and then to Fort Fisher to talk about Grant’s fifth offensive and the picket line attack in March 1865. The bus will make its final stops on the Five Forks Battlefield, scene of the April 1, 1865 fighting. On our return to Richmond we will drive through (without stopping) the developed Sutherland Station battlefield and the partially preserved Fort Gregg battlefield, where the Confederates desperately fought on April 2, 1865 to allow Lee to gather his shattered army within the inner defenses and retreat from Petersburg and Richmond that night.
Tour Stops: City Point, Eastern Front, Fort Stedman, The Crater, Fort Wadsworth, Weldon Railroad, Peeble’s Farm, Five Forks