The Jones Farm Loop Trail
Battlefield Land Now Open to the Public.
In March 2012, the Civil War Trust, in partnership with Pamplin Historical Park, announced the opening of the Jones Farm Loop Trail on the Petersburg Battlefield. Just under one mile in length, the circuit covers some of the most significant and best-preserved land the Trust has ever been able to make available for the public, after decades of inaccessibility
In some ways, earthworks such as those on the Jones Farm Loop Trail are the most valuable battlefield features, because soldiers didn’t just fight there: they lived there, warily eyeing the enemy just a few hundred yards away. Both sides knew that this might be the scene of the final campaign. The land covered on this newly-opened trail was the scene of bartering sessions between Union and Confederate soldiers, hundreds of desertions by homesick and hungry Southerners, and desperate, bloody fighting.
On April 2, 1865, Col. Joseph E. Hamblin led his men out of these trenches and assaulted the Confederate line.
In March 1865, after nine months of torturous stalemate, Confederate forces positioned around the critical city of Petersburg, Virginia, made a concerted effort to break out of their trenches and end the siege. In the Battle of Fort Stedman, March 25, 1865, the Confederates were driven back to their lines south of Petersburg. Upon this repulse, Union Lt. Gen. U.S. Grant ordered probing attacks all along his vast line. Union Sixth Corps soldiers captured the Confederate picket line preserved on this trail. Union soldiers re-faced these Confederate fortifications and used them as a launching-pad for their decisive Breakthrough at Petersburg.
Sixth Corps units advanced from the captured Confederate picket line and broke through the main Confederate line. To see the complete map of this action, click here.
Visit Pamplin Historical Park and take their peaceful Headwaters Trail to access the Jones Farm Loop Trail.
On March 30, 2012, Pamplin Historical Park and the Civil War Trust cut the ribbon to open this new trail. Here, visitors participate in a pre-dawn walk of the Union breakthrough attack.