Petersburg could triple in size
The Siege at Petersburg was just a dumpster fire of a military campaign in the Civil War that saw Grant nail the feet of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia to the floor outside of Richmond and keep him there for almost 10 months. The bloodletting included such horror as the Battle of the Crater and the assault on Fort Stedman ultimately broke Lee’s back. Within weeks of the end of the campaign came Appomattox. Within weeks of Appomattox came the end of the war in the rest of the Confederacy.
Now, it looks like the 2,700 acres of the National Park Service’s Petersburg National Battlefield could be set to balloon if the money is right.
Legislation signed days ago by President Barack Obama authorizes, but does not pay for, the addition of more than 7,000 acres to the existing 2,700 acres of rolling hills, earthworks and siege lines already under protection at Petersburg.
Expansion has been a longtime priority of park advocates and comes amid a push to bolster and protect battlefields around the country this decade as the nation marked the 150th anniversary of the war. Supporters say the larger boundary would not only protect historic sites from commercial development but also give park visitors a more comprehensive understanding of the Petersburg campaign, which left tens of thousands of men dead.
“We’re finally moving forward. … We’re looking at the park and looking at the story in a whole new way,” said Lewis Rogers, the park’s superintendent, who joked that the weeks of waiting for the president’s signature had left him in misery.