PETERSBURG, a city and port of entry of Virginia, U.S.A., on the Appomattox river, at the head of navigation, about n m. from its mouth, and 22 m. S. of Richmond. Pop. (1890), 22,680; (1900), 21,810, (10,751 negroes); (1910), 24,127. It is served by the Atlantic Coast Line, the Seaboard Air Line and the Norfolk & Western railways. The river, which is here spanned by two steel bridges and one frame bridge, is navigable to this point for vessels of 8 ft. draught at mean high water, and has been greatly improved by the Federal government, which in 1909 was engaged in deepening the whole channel to 12 ft. at mean high water and in excavating at Petersburg a new channel into which to deflect the river. In and about the city there is much of historic and scenic interest. At Blandford, a suburban hamlet, is the picturesque old Blandford church, erected about 1734. Petersburg has two public parks, and among its institutions are a home for the sick (1886), an orphanage for girls and another for negroes, the state central hospital for the insane (negroes), the southern female college (non-sectarian, 1863), the university school for boys, the Bishop Payne divinity school (Protestant Episcopal) for negroes, and the Virginia normal and industrial institute (opened in 1883), also for negroes. There are two national cemeteries near Petersburg Poplar Grove (about 4 m. south), containing about 6200 graves, and City Point (about 9 m. east), containing about 5100 graves; and in Blandford cemetery there are about 30,000 graves of Confederate dead. In this cemetery General William Phillips is buried, and there is a monument to Captain McRae, commander of the " Petersburg Volunteers," whose bravery in 1812-1813 prompted President Madison to call Petersburg the " Cockade City." The falls above the city furnish abundant water-power, and the city has various manufactures. The factory product was valued at $5,890,574 in 1905, 11-3% more than in 1900; in both 1900 and 1905 Petersburg ranked fourth among the cities of the state in the value of factory products. From Petersburg are shipped quantities of trunks and bags, peanuts, tobacco and cotton. In 1909 the foreign trade, wholly imports, was valued at $360,774. The city was formerly in Chesterfield, Dinwiddie and Prince George counties, but is now independent of county government.
An Indian village formerly stood on or near the site of the present city, and Fort Henry was built here by the whites in 1645. Petersburg was founded in 1733 by Colonel William Byrd (1674-1744) and Peter Jones, and was named (first Peter's Point, and then Petersburg) in honour of the latter; in 1748 it was incorporated as a town. On the 25th of April 1781 a skirmish was fought in front of Petersburg between a British force of about 3000 under General William Phillips (1731?-1781) and about one-third of that number of American militia under Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben; the Ameiicans were defeated, and the British occupied the town. In the following month the British again entered Petersburg (General Phillips dying here on the 13th), but they were soon dislodged by Lafayette who shelled the town. General Winfield Scott was born near Petersburg, and practised law here for two years before he entered the army. Petersburg was chartered as a city in 1850.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)