As the industrial and political capital of the Confederacy, Richmond was the physical and psychological prize over which two mighty American armies contended in bloody battle from 1861 to 1865. The city, swollen by government, the military, refugees, prisoners, and the wounded, lived with anxiety and hope. Martial law and rationing were routine.
Disease claimed thousands. Landowners outside Richmond saw their farms converted into battlefields. Richmond's story is not just the tale of one large Civil War battle, nor even one important campaign. Instead, the park's resources include a naval battle, a key industrial complex, the Confederacy's largest hospital, dozens of miles of elaborate original fortifications, and the evocative spots where determined soldiers stood paces apart and fought with rifles, reaping a staggering human cost.