National Park Foundation Donates Land to Petersburg National Battlefield

Thursday, March 1, 2018NPF News

PETERSBURG — The National Park Foundation and the National Park Service today announced the donation of a 3.7-acre tract of land to Petersburg National Battlefield near Poplar Grove National Cemetery.

The National Park Foundation received the property as a donation in 1991 from the late Roberta Odom, who passed away in 1993. The land lies in the heart of the Petersburg Civil War landscape. It saw fighting during the August 1864 Battle of Weldon Railroad and then served as the camp for the 50th New York Engineers during the latter part of the 1864-65 Siege of Petersburg. After the war, it was used as a camp for the Freedmen’s Bureau. Today, the national cemetery at nearby Poplar Grove is the resting place for more than 6,000 American soldiers. One of fourteen national cemeteries administered by the NPS, Poplar Grove is open daily and visitors are welcome to walk its grounds.

“Private philanthropy is making it possible for more people to honor those who gave their lives in service to their country,” said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation. “The 3.7-acre inholding donation provides access and parking so visitors can more easily explore historic Poplar Grove National Cemetery.” 

“Petersburg National Battlefield is grateful for the dedication and hard work of the National Park Foundation and the generosity of those who contribute to the preservation of this nation’s historic sites,” said Lewis Rogers, Superintendent of Petersburg National Battlefield. “This donation of land will further assist us tell the story of the Siege of Petersburg and the soldiers buried within the brick walls of the cemetery to ensure that their sacrifice on behalf of their nation will never be forgotten.”

In 2016, with the support of numerous land conservation organizations and park partners, including the Civil War Trust, Petersburg Battlefields Foundation, and The Conservation Fund, Congress passed bipartisan legislation to expand the boundary of Petersburg National Battlefield to include this tract and other land within the park’s acquisition boundary. With the passage of the legislation, Congress provided NPS with the authority to accept the donation of the property from the National Park Foundation. 

Celebrating 50 years, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and ENGAGE the next generation of park stewards.  In 2016, commemorating the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, the Foundation launched The Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, a comprehensive fundraising campaign to strengthen and enhance the future of these national treasures for the next hundred years.  Find out more and become a part of the national park community at

Petersburg National Battlefield, a unit of the National Park System, was created in order to commemorate the campaign and siege and defense of Petersburg, Virginia, in 1864 and 1865. The park staff is committed to preserving and protecting the historical, cultural, and natural resources within the park in a manner that will provide interpretation, education, and enjoyment for the visitors. For more information about events at Petersburg National Battlefield, visit us at, on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter @PetersburgNPS.