Four scenes depicting Petersburg, Virginia, American Civil War, 1861-1865.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Clockwise from top left: crater, Confederate lines, Petersburg; edge, looking into crater; Poplar Grove Church built by Federal engineers; Federal Fort Sedgewick or 'Hell'. Four albumen prints from the album asembled by John Downes Rochfort. Rochfort visited all the major American Civil War sites in 1867 and some of the photographs he purchased en route have since become some of that war's best known images. Petersburg was the site of the longest siege of the war. When Union general Ulyses S Grant failed to capture Richmond, the Confederate capital in 1864, he surrounded Petersburg in an attempt to cut the rebel supply lines. The siege lasted nine and a half months before general Robert E Lee evacuated the town on 2nd April 1865.