Petersburg National Battlefield Gains Nearly 4 Acres
By NPT Staff on March 2nd, 2018
From National Parks Traveler
A nearly 4-acre tract of land has been added to Petersburg National Battlefield in Virginia thanks to a donation to the National Park Foundation made back in 1991.
The Foundation received the 3.7-acre tract from the late Roberta Odom, who passed away in 1993. However, it did not receive permission to actually donate the land to the battlefield until Congress passed requisite legislation in 2016.
The land lies in the heart of the Petersburg Civil War landscape. It saw fighting during the August 1864 Battle of Weldon Railroad and then served as the camp for the 50th New York Engineers during the latter part of the 1864-65 Siege of Petersburg. After the war, it was used as a camp for the Freedmen’s Bureau.
Today, the national cemetery at nearby Poplar Grove is the resting place for more than 6,000 American soldiers. One of 14 national cemeteries administered by the NPS, Poplar Grove is open daily and visitors are welcome to walk its grounds.
“Private philanthropy is making it possible for more people to honor those who gave their lives in service to their country,” said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation. “The 3.7-acre inholding donation provides access and parking so visitors can more easily explore historic Poplar Grove National Cemetery.”
“Petersburg National Battlefield is grateful for the dedication and hard work of the National Park Foundation and the generosity of those who contribute to the preservation of this nation’s historic sites,” said Lewis Rogers, Superintendent of Petersburg National Battlefield. “This donation of land will further assist us tell the story of the Siege of Petersburg and the soldiers buried within the brick walls of the cemetery to ensure that their sacrifice on behalf of their nation will never be forgotten.”
In 2016, with the support of numerous land conservation organizations and park partners, including the Civil War Trust, Petersburg Battlefields Foundation, and The Conservation Fund, Congress passed bipartisan legislation to expand the boundary of Petersburg National Battlefield to include this tract and other land within the park’s acquisition boundary. With the passage of the legislation, Congress provided NPS with the authority to accept the donation of the property from the National Park Foundation.