Wrapping around the city's eastern and southern flanks, this park preserves the key sites of the siege that lasted from mid-June 1864 to early April 1865. The main visitor center (on Va. 36) displays exhibits and artifacts, while a one-way 4-mile battlefield driving tour has wayside exhibits; some stops have short walking trails. The last and most fascinating is the site of The Crater, literally a depression blown into the ground when a group of miners from Pennsylvania dug a passage beneath Confederate lines and exploded 4 tons of powder, creating the 170*60-foot crater. The explosion killed 278 Confederates, and, during the ensuing battle, thousands more men on both sides were killed or wounded. To get a fuller perspective, follow the entire siege line from the Eastern Front visitor center 26 miles south to Five Forks Battlefield in Dinwiddie County. Admission includes an extremely helpful audio tour of the battle lines.
Also part of the park is Grant's Headquarters at City Point, at present-day Hopewell, 26 miles to the east via Va. 36. City Point was the largest Union supply base during the war. Abraham Lincoln spent 2 of the last 3 weeks of his life there.