Few places in Virginia were untouched by the events of the Civil War – but fewer still offer as compelling a view of the experience as Virginia’s Retreat. The region’s name is inspired by the path known as Lee’s Retreat, a path cut by General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia during the last hours of battle. While Lee’s army retreated from enemy forces, you have a chance to retreat from the demands of modern life – and take a journey through places rich with the stories of dramatic times.
The original Virginia Civil War Trail, Lee’s Retreat is a self-guided tour through the final days of troop movement and strategy between Lee’s Army and General Ulysses S. Grant’s Federal troops. The evacuation of Lee’s troops from Petersburg marks the beginning of the trail, followed by various twists and turns on this westward route. Behind each turn is a story of plans thwarted and realization setting in over three consecutive night. As Lee’s Army moved toward a supply station in Farmville, battling Union forces at Little Sailor’s Creek and engaging in combat at High Bridge, Grant’s Army continued to maneuver against them, culminating in Lee’s decision to surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House.
Plan your journey at the Heartland Regional Visitor Center where brochures and maps are available, as well as recommendations for dining and lodging. Along the trail, you will find 25 stops with detailed audio and visual interpretation, allowing you to follow at your own pace. Starting in Petersburg is recommended to follow chronologically, but any point along the way is an interesting place to begin. With numerous places to walk around historic sites and enter buildings that are publicly accessible, you could spend two full days taking it all in.
Home of the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier, with exhibits, artifacts and interpretive displays on daily life both on the battlefield and homefront.
Sailor’s Creek was the site of a devastating battle just 72 hours before Lee’s surrender at nearby Appomattox Court House.
This National Historical Park commemorates the heroic acts of April 1865 that ended the Civil War through a walking tour.
This full color brochure details the trail with map and historical notes.
The complete brochure from Virginia Civil War Trails