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city (1990 pop. 38,386), politically independent and in no county, SE Va., on the Appomattox River; inc. 1850. A port of entry and an important tobacco market, it has industries producing chemicals, pharmaceuticals, furniture, structural steel, lumber, paper goods, and medical equipment. Fort Henry was built there in 1646 on the site of a Native American village. A trading post was then established, and in 1784 three villages—Petersburg, Blandford, and Pocahontas—were combined as Petersburg town. In the Civil War, Petersburg, which guarded the southern approaches to Richmond, was under siege from June 15, 1864, to Apr. 3, 1865. After failing to destroy Lee's army in the Wilderness campaignWilderness campaign,
in the American Civil War, a series of engagements (May–June, 1864) fought in the Wilderness region of Virginia. Early in May, 1864, the Northern commander in chief, Grant, led the Army of the Potomac (118,000 strong) across the Rapidan River into the
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, Grant slipped unnoticed from Confederate lines at Cold Harbor and moved on the city. Lee, forced to defend Petersburg in order to protect Richmond, entrenched his troops there. On July 30, 1864, Union forces exploded a mine under part of the Confederate works and poured into "The Crater," but were driven out with heavy losses. Grant gradually extended his left flank SW of Petersburg to cut off Lee's supplies from the lower South, and Lee was forced to spread his smaller army over many miles of entrenchments. Sheridan's victory at Five ForksFive Forks,
crossroads near Dinwiddie Courthouse, SW of Petersburg, Va. The last important battle of the Civil War was fought there on Apr. 1, 1865. Philip H. Sheridan, leading his own and Gouverneur K. Warren's corps, decisively defeated the Confederates under Pickett.
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 on Apr. 1, 1865, followed by a general assault on the Petersburg lines, finally broke Lee's resistance. Petersburg fell on Apr. 3, 1865. Union forces entered Richmond on the same day, and Lee surrendered the remnants of his army at Appomattox Courthouse one week later. Petersburg National Battlefield (est. 1926) encompasses much of the battle scene; many old earthworks and tunnels are preserved, including "The Crater." Other points of interest include Blandford Cemetery, with 30,000 Confederate dead; Blandford Church (1735–37); Center Hill Mansion (1823; now a museum); and Gen. William Mahone's home, now part of the public library. Virginia State Univ. is to the north in the suburb of Ettrick. To the east is Fort Lee, an army quartermaster training center and home of the U.S. Army Women's Museum.

Petersburg (Independent City), Virginia

City Hall 135 N Union St
Petersburg, VA 23803
Phone: (804) 733-2301
Fax: (804) 732-9212

In southeastern VA at the head of navigation of the Appomattox River, 23 mi. south of Richmond. Name Origin: Named by William Bryd II (1674-1744) for Peter Jones, his companion on expeditions into the VA backcountry. Founded in 1645 as Fort Henry, a trading post; name changed in 1748 when incorporated as a town; incorporated as a city in 1850

Area (sq mi):: 23.19 (land 22.88; water 0.30) Population per square mile: 1425.00
Population 2005: 32,604 State rank: 52 Population change: 2000-20005 -3.40%; 1990-2000 -12.10% Population 2000: 33,740 (White 18.20%; Black or African American 79.00%; Hispanic or Latino 1.40%; Asian 0.70%; Other 1.80%). Foreign born: 2.30%. Median age: 36.90
Income 2000: per capita $15,989; median household $28,851; Population below poverty level: 19.60% Personal per capita income (2000-2003): $24,506-$26,729
Unemployment (2004): 7.60% Unemployment change (from 2000): 1.20% Median travel time to work: 23.30 minutes Working outside county of residence: 60.60%
Cities with population over 10,000: None
See other counties in .


a city in SE Virginia, on the Appomattox River: scene of prolonged fighting (1864--65) during the final months of the American Civil War. Pop.: 33 091 (2003 est.)
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