No NPS, No Problem – Pamplin Historical Park

Confederate Artillery Redan
Confederate Redan along the Breakthrough Trail

It is with great pleasure that we are able to conclude the “No NPS, No Problem” series with a site that likely would not exist but for the National Park Service. Not only have many of the major players in the founding of Pamplin Historical Park back in the early 1990’s come from an NPS background, the battlefield itself is the culmination of the campaign that gripped the city of Petersburg in the last ten months of the war—one whose major sites are currently preserved by Petersburg National Battlefield. After understanding the logistical behemoth at City Point, the shocking tragedy of the Crater, the engineering marvels at Forts Wadsworth and Fisher, the desperation at Fort Stedman, and the opportunity opened at Five Forks, a visitor truly appreciates the stakes and impact of the battlefield at Pamplin Historical Park—the location where the Union army finally broke through the Confederate position.

Firing a cannon at the Fortifications Exhibit
Artillery Demonstration at the Fortifications Exhibit

The park offers more than just walking trails of the earthworks fought over on a cold April morning. The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier utilizes interactive exhibits to portray the transformation experienced by the citizen soldiers who composed the majority of both armies. Visitors can also learn about the impact of the war on the residents of the property—the Boisseau family and their slaves—at the Tudor Hall plantation. The Civil War Adventure Camp provides a unique immersion program designed to train its participants as raw recruits tasked with learning the school of the soldier. Formal guided tours, costumed interpretation, or individual exploration assisted by audio headset technology give visitors many options to learn about those who fought, were displaced by, or found freedom in the battle that served as a catalyst in hastening the American Civil War to its close.

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