It is important to realize that this is a commemoration, not a celebration. There is no joy to be found in war, especially the Civil War, which caused the deaths of over 620,000 Americans, divided families, tore apart a nation, and left cities in ruin. At the same time, the sesquicentennial encompasses emancipation and freedom for four million enslaved people, which is something to celebrate. The issues are complex, but there is no better opportunity to examine the time, the people, the causes, and the legacies of the Civil War. The 150th anniversary of the Civil War and Emancipation allows us to discuss all aspects of the story: Union, Confederate and African-American; battlefront and home front; and the losses, gains, and legacies of the conflict that defined a nation. (From Virginiacivilwar.org)
Petersburg, Virginia played an integral role in the Civil War as the last bastion of defense of the Confederate capital, Richmond. Learn more about it by visiting Petersburg National Battlefield to learn about the Siege of Petersburg, the longest military event of the Civil War; Pamplin Historical Park where the battle that ended the Petersburg Campaign took place; Dinwiddie where six Civil War battles took place in a dozen battle sites, including the Battle of Five Forks, which triggered Lee’s decision to abandon his entrenchments around Petersburg and begin the retreat that led to his surrender; and Sailor’s Creek Battlefield State Park where nearly a quarter of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s army were killed, wounded or captured only three days before his surrender at Appomattox Court House.