the battle of five forks was fought on april 1 st 1865 between the forces of union general philip sheridan and confederate general george pickett. the battle of five forks was a minor engagement compared to the massive battles of gettysburg and shiloh but it was one of the most important union victories in the civil war. the union victory at the battle of five forks ended the ten month siege of petersburg and forced confederate general robert e. lee to abandon petersburg and richmond. lee was forced to retreat westward to appomattox courthouse were he finally surrendered his army of northern virginia to general ulysses s. grant which brought about the end of the civil war. the battle of five forks was considered the confederacy's "waterloo".
pamplin historic park is home to the museum of the civil war soldier. in the park there are several historic homes and farms. there also is a three mile walking trail which passes by sites in the siege of petersburg. for those interested in civil war history and southern culture pamplin is worth a stop in the petersburg area.
fort haskell is stop # 6 on the battlefield auto tour. on march 25 th 1865 after the confederates took fort stedman they bombarded nearby fort haskell. the union held fort haskell which led to the union counter attack of fort stedman. union general john hartranft retook fort stedman later that day. the confederate attack on forts stedman and haskell was the last attack on the union eastern line in the siege of petersburg.
fort stedman is stop #5 on the battlefield auto tour. at 4:15 am march 25 th 1865 the confederate forces of general john gordon attacked fort stedman. the confederates captured the fort and used it's captured guns to bombard nearby fort haskell. later in the morning union general john hartranft counter attacked and retook the fort. the battle of fort stedman was a decisive union victory.
harrison's creek is stop # 4 on the battlefield auto tour. on june 15 th 1864 after being driven out of the dimmock line, the outnumbered confederate defenders of petersburg formed a new defensive line on the heights across harrison's creek. confederate forces dug in along the west bank of this creek for two days before withdrawing closer to petersburg.
also located at stop # 3 on the battlefield auto tour is the meade station trail. this short trail passes by the site of meade station, an important supply depot, fort lee, and the site of union infantry camps.
battery 9 is stop # 3 on the battlefield auto tour. black troops captured this battery in the first days of the siege. this site features confederate fortifications and reconstructed buildings that were there during the siege.
confederate battery 8 is stop # 2 on the petersburg battlefield auto tour. this battery was captured by black union troops and was renamed fort friend for the friend house located nearby. this fort played a major role during the battle of fort stedman in march 1864.
in 1862 captain charles dimmock oversaw the construction of a ten mile line of defensive earthen works ringing petersburg. pictured is battery five one of the largest of fifty five artillery positions in the dimmock line. battery five was built by slave labor. battery five is stop #1 in the eastern front auto tour.
in september 1864 confederate general wade hampton raided the union lines near city point and captured 2,486 head of cattle and returned to confederate territory. hampton's daring foray into union lines became known as the "beefsteak raid". since this raid was so close to general ulysses s. grant's headquarters grant ordered the construction of eight earthen forts in a line near modern day hopewell virginia. union fort is one of the existant forts remaining in that line of defenses.