Amassed over several decades, this assemblage of Civil War battlefield landscapes comprises more than 3,700 acres distributed across thirteen distinct National Park units, encompassing some 80 square miles. Authorized by an act of Congress in 1936 and established eight years later, much of the land had been acquired by a group of Virginians and donated to the Commonwealth in 1932 to preserve key sites surrounding the Confederate capital. The Park commemorates sites associated with the Seven Days Battles of 1862, the Overland Campaign of 1864, and the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign of 1864-65. Located near strategic geographic features including rivers and bluffs, the Park highlights the critical role topography, natural features, and infrastructure played in determining battle strategies and outcomes.
The main visitor center at Tredegar Iron Works interprets and exhibits information about the Confederacy’s primary industrial production facility. Battlefields including those at Chickahominy Bluff, Beaver Dam Creek, Cold Harbor, and Fort Harrison include interpretive signs along extensive trail networks providing access to earthworks, structures, and fields. Malvern Hill exhibits the strategic advantage Union forces gained as they positioned themselves between the hill’s slopes and the adjacent lowland swamps. The extant fort built on Drewry’s Bluff in 1862 includes a viewing platform overlooking the battlefield and the James River while individual monuments can be found at Gaines’ Mill and Parker’s Battery. Richmond National Battlefield Park was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.