On the drive back from Farmville on Sunday, I made a wide turn through Petersburg. The last time I visited the battlefield there, with my young Aide leading the way, was November 2008. I was surprised at more than a few changes to the battlefield.
First off, for decades a long line of cannons sat on rails outside the visitor center.
Those guns are now on individual concrete pedestals in front of the visitor center.
While the mountings do make examination of the cannons easier. I have a couple of concerns. The mounting brackets cover up the the trunnions, preventing full study. And the bronze guns remain untreated, as evidenced by the fresh bronze stains on the concrete.
The siege encampment exhibit area appeared to have fresh abatis, logs and platforms. This spot is always a hit with the kids.
But for us battlefield stompers, the real change is on the south leg of the tour loop. Tree clearing has opened up some new vistas.
The photo above looks from Fort Haskell to Fort Stedman. There’s actually two other Federal batteries in view here.
And further down the line, the tour road now slips east of Fort Morton, where visitors have a nearly unobstructed view to the Crater.
And yes, the railroad still runs through the valley.
And the view from the Crater back to the Federal Lines is likewise impressive.
Great things going on at Petersburg… and I haven’t mentioned Five Forks where a new visitor center and other improvements have made that battlefield a prime destination for us “stompers.”