Battles of the Siege

Out From the Trenches

The Union siege lines around Petersburg were extended in a series of offensives launched westward around the city toward the South Side Railroad. In a methodical approach, Gen. Grant would use superior numbers to attack or threaten the Richmond defenses first and then send massed troops from the trenches around Petersburg out to attack the Confederate positions defending the southern and western approaches to the city.

If the Union forces were victorious in a battle resulting from one of these offensives or if the Confederates had stopped them but had not swept them from the field, the Union army would start digging in right there and extend their existing trench lines to connect with the new fort they were now building. As trenches were extended so was the Military Railroad which would be situated in the rear behind the Federal lines and forts.

If taken chronologically, one can see, with a few exceptions, that each battle occurred further west each time until the breaking point at Five Forks on April 1, 1865. These "above ground" battles punctuated the grueling and harsh routine of trench warfare at Petersburg and were the places where most of the 70,000 soldiers became casualties in the last ten months of the war.

Major Engagements

The Opening Assaults June 15-18, 1864
Jerusalem Plank Rd June 22, 1864
Battle of the Crater July 30, 1864
Weldon Railroad August 18 - 21, 1864
Reams Station August 25, 1864
Peebles Farm September 30 - October 2, 1864
Burgess Mill October 27,1864

Hatcher's Run February 5-6, 1865
Fort Stedman March 25, 1865
Lewis Farm March 29, 1865
White Oak Road March 30 - 31, 1865
Five Forks April 1, 1865

Last updated: November 26, 2023

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Petersburg National Battlefield Administration Office
1539 Hickory Hill Road

Petersburg, VA 23803


804 732-3531 x200
If you cannot reach us by phone - please e-mail questions to the address listed.

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