Today, evidence of various batteries remains spread over miles of the landscape near Petersburg. The entrance to the mine tunnel and a big depression in the land remain, as well, and are littered with granite obelisks dedicated to the Pennsylvania soldiers or the Confederate victims. Preservation of this landscape is a gift to our generation in terms of how well it illustrates the range and scope of this single series of battles. If one arena of the conflict was this enormous, the full scale of the Civil War's hostilities are almost incomprehensibly vast -- and so, by extension, must be the range and scale of most armed conflicts. Petersburg is one among many useful reminders of how much effort and destruction went into this war. One would hope it serves as both memorial and caution.
And yet: the battlefields were also among the most peaceful and pastoral landscapes we encountered on our journey. We saw bald eagles and wild turkeys, and enjoyed (amidst the oppressive eastern humidity -- three cheers for Oregon's climate) leafy green landscapes and vast fields that guarantee the need for a tremendous lawn-mowing budget on the part of the National Parks Service. It was nearly impossible, gazing upon these beautiful expanses, to imagine the death and destruction that once littered them. It all seemed rather... romantic, to use the incredibly inappropriate term that so often characterizes the realm of "Lost Cause" lore.
Fort Stedman (Union)