Robert E. Lee faced a dilemma during the last days of the Civil War in Virginia: does he stop and feed his troops to sustain them on their desperate march away from Petersburg-Richmond or does he “press on,” straining the endurance of his army to avoid battle?
Robert E. Lee. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.
On Friday, January 13th, Lee-Jackson Day on the commonwealth’s holiday calendar, Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Historical State Park will feature a special program talk “Gen. Robert E. Lee’s key decisions of the Appomattox Campaign.” The special program will be held at the park’s visitor center from 2 to 4 p.m.
The visitor center at Sailor's Creek is home to an exhibit of the battles of Sailor's Creek.
Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Historical State Park is a historical site because on April 6, 1865 – the Black Thursday of the Confederacy – Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia lost 7,700 men, including eight generals, in the Battle of Little Sailor's Creek. This defeat was key to Lee's decision to surrender at Appomattox Court House 72 hours later, thus ending the war in Virginia.
The talk & discussion will focus on Lee’s initial plan, following the evacuation of his army from the Petersburg-Richmond siege lines. Special attention will be paid to Lee’s subsequent critical decisions–as his plan began to fall apart–that led to the fateful Battles of Sailor’s Creek. For more information on the program, click here.
Historical interpretation signage line the trail leading to Sailor's Creek .
An open discussion period will follow the talk. The public is invited to bring lounge chairs to use in the exhibit hall where the talk will be held. The program is free and is most suitable for adults and older children.
Both the state park and the Overton-Hillsman Farm House Museum are on the National Register of Historical Places and listed as a National Historic Landmark.
The park is located at 6541 Saylers Creek Road, Rice, Va. From U.S. 460, take Route 617 (Saylers Creek Rd.) to Sailor’s Creek Battlefield State Park. From U.S. 360, take State Route 307 (connecting highway between U.S. 360 and U.S. 460) to Route 617 North (Saylers Creek Rd.).
Drive Time :Northern Virginia, three to three and a half hours; Richmond, one to one and a half hours; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach, two and a half to three hours; Roanoke, two hours.
Latitude, 37.305194. Longitude, -78.22764.