The Civil War Trust, Virginia and Petersburg officials announced plans Tuesday for the public-private preservation of an 81-acre parcel in Petersburg and the restoration of the South Side Depot, key sites in the 10-month Petersburg Campaign, also known as the Siege of Petersburg, in 1864 and 1865. The Confederate army evacuated the city on April 2 and the city officially surrendered the next day.
The land parcel, known as Cemetery Hill or Blandford Hill, is located between historic Blandford Cemetery and Petersburg National Battlefield. It is associated with the June 18, 1864 federal assault on Petersburg as well as the Battle of the Crater on July 30 and the Confederate attack on Fort Stedman on March 25, 1865.
The South Side Depot was the last railroad link held by the Confederacy when Petersburg fell. Built about 1854, it is a stately, three-story, red brick building with a white cupola on top. Several efforts in the past to recycle it for a visitor center or other uses failed. In 1993, it was badly damaged by a tornado. The city now owns it.
Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean T. Connaughton on Tuesday announced a $448,000 matching grant to the Trust for the purchase of Cemetery Hill; the City of Petersburg will receive $400,000 in state money for the restoration of the depot. The Trust will add $100,000 to the restoration funds.
The Trust earlier this year announced a fund raising campaign to purchase Cemetery Hill and another parcel on the Petersburg Battlefield.