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Pamplin Park Entrance
Pamplin Historical Park - Main Entrance and Museum

Battle Center
Pamplin Historical Park - Battle Center

Battle Center - Back
Pamplin Historical Park - Battle Center - Back

Battle Center - Entrance
Pamplin Park - Battle Center - Entrance
Over the Door: APRIL 2, 1865.

  The Pamplin Historical Park Complex is a privately-owned Park and Museum located on a portion of the Confederate lines constructed around Petersburg during the 1864-1865 siege . It is easily accessible via Interstate 85 or U.S. 1 south of Petersburg. Directions to the park are well-marked.

The focal point of the Park is the multi-million dollar Museum of the Civil War Soldier. In addition to the exhibits, book store, and a coffee shop, the Museum provides a virtual tour of the life of a civil war soldier. When you take the tour, you select one of nine soldiers that you will track. You are then given a CD player which plays over ten different selections, taken from the soldier's writings, addressing each display as you view it. The displays illustrate infantry, cavalry, and navy weapons, relics, and uniforms. Tents, huts, supplies, a Church, and soldiers drilling are also there to view. It is a fabulous way to get a feeling for what it was like back then. At the conclusion of the virtual tour you enter an area with a simulated battle occuring. You hear the cannon and rifle fire and the soldiers yelling. I could actually feel the bullets whiz by (Really bursts of air) and feel the shaking of the floor as the cannon fired.

Outside the Museum demonstrations of rifle and cannon fire are presented.

Leaving the Museum area, you follow a trail to a portion of the Confederate earthern works built around Petersburg.

In addition to the reconstructed Civil War camps near the earthworks, you'll notice the saw-toothed Battle Center (See, above) which was used as a Visitors Center when the Park was initially constructed. The Park's documents say the Battle Center building is in the shape of the Confederate Lines near there. I'll take their word for it.

Outside the Battle Center, a trail takes you around the Confederate earthworks. I was impressed at the height of these earthworks. They appear to have weathered very little compared to other sites in the state. Highlights on the trail include several passes through the earthworks at the locations the Union used on April 2, 1865 to overrun the Confederate fortifications . You also see Confederate picket sites and note how far from the main line they were located.

Between the Visitor's center and the Battle Center is the renovated Tudor Hall Plantation which existed during the seige and was used as brigade headquarters for Confederate General Samuel McGowan.

Finally, and really interesting, are the re-constructed soldier huts, of the kind used by the Confederates in the 1864-65 winter. It is not unusual to encounter Park Guides, in period Confederate uniforms, at the huts. On one oppressively hot June day, on a visit to the park, I was impressed that the Park Guides still wore those hot wool uniforms. The photographs below illustrate some of the uniforms worn by the Guides. The three Guides in the photograph (made about ten years ago) no longer work at the Park.

David Reed     Steve Perez     Mike Hudson

The Pamplin Park Guides, just like their National Park Service counterparts, go out of their way to assist you and make your visit enjoyable. It says something for the personnel manning these Parks, at Pamplin Park, the State Parks and at the National Parks, that they are some of the most dedicated and friendly people I have ever met.

Museum Under Construction
Museum of the Civil War Soldier
Rear View - During Construction

As you can tell, we were impressed with Pamplin Historical Park. If only all of the Civil War Sites were treated with such care and respect.


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