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Hillsman Farm House Museum behind a Sailor’s Creek Battlefield State Park sign

Sailor’s Creek Battlefield State Park sign. Photo: Virginia State Parks staff, Wikimedia

Historic Sailor’s Creek Battlefield is located in Rice, between Petersburg and Appomattox Court House in Amelia County. This park is an important stop along the Lee’s Retreat Driving Tour and only an hour and a half from Richmond.

This scenic Virginia state park was named for a farmer named Saylor who owned the land and stream during the late 1700s and early 1800s. ]

Today visitors to this 379 acre day-use area enjoy exploring trails, relaxing in the picnic area, discovering history inside the museum and Overton-Hillsman House and being an engaged spectator during living history programs and reenactments.

Activities

When you visit Sailor’s Creek Battlefield State Park you’ll get a chance to go back in time as you learn about the history of the area. Bring a picnic, explore the trails and discover nature and wildlife. Picnic tables and grills are available near the Overton-Hillsman House and the visitor center.

Here are some more activities that you can do during your visit to Sailor’s Creek Battlefield State Park:

Trails at Sailor’s Creek Battlefield

Sailor’s Creek Battlefield State Park has 7 hiking trails. Each trail displays interpretive signs to help you learn more about the area as you explore the woods, fields and creeks.

Here are a couple of popular trails inside the park:

  • Custis Lee Trail – A moderate .8 mile trail across from the Overlook. While walking along this peaceful path you’ll see where Gen. Custis Lee
    counter-attacked the Union forces. If you continue onto The Seymour Trail for another .2 miles you’ll come out near the creek.
  • Confederate Overlook Trail – An easy .7 mile loop to Sailor’s Creek. This mostly exposed trail passes along both sides of a small field and through the woods below the creek.
  • The Wheaton Trail – A .7 mile trail that starts at the Hillsman House and leads out to the creek and back. You can add The Nature Spur Trail for an additional mile when returning to the house.

Living History Programs at Sailor’s Creek Battlefield

Living history programs and battle reenactments are presented throughout the year at Sailor’s Creek Battlefield State Park. Here are a few:

  • Commemoration of the Battles – April
  • Butterflies on the Battlefield – July
  • Star Gazing – Spring and Summer
  • Veteran’s Day Luminaria Commemoration
  • Antebellum Saint Nicholas – December

Museum at Sailor’s Creek Battlefield

The visitor center, museum and gift shop is open 9-4 year-round except on Thanksgiving. The museum exhibits focus on when Confederate forces leave Richmond and Petersburg (April 2, 1865) up until the day before the surrender at Appomattox Court House (April 8, 1865).

On April 6, 1865, Confederate Gen. Robert E Lee’s army wearily trudged its way through Amelia County hoping to reach Farmville, and much needed

supplies. When they reached as far as Sailor’s Creek they were cut off by the Union forces led by Gen. Ulysses S Grant. They were unable to retreat and also attacked from the rear. This overwhelming Union victory resulted in captured wagons, artillery, 8 confederate generals and about 7,700 combatants.

Gen. Lee surrendered 72 hours later at the village of Appomattox court House, effectively ending the fighting in Virginia.

During your visit you can tour The historic Overton-Hillsman House. This house is believed to have been built by Moses Overton around 1770. It was used as a field hospital during and after the battle. Tours are available upon request.

A research library is also available, by appointment only.

Wildlife Viewing at Sailor’s Creek Battlefield

While exploring the park’s woods, wildflower fields and creeks you’ll see squirrels, chipmunks, white-tailed deer, rabbits, raccoons, opossum, foxes, wild turkey, turtles, snakes, frogs, salamanders and many species of birds.

A few types of birds that you may see inside the park are cardinals, bald eagles, hawks, owls, woodpeckers, wren, sparrows, red-winged blackbirds, great blue heron or eastern bluebirds.

Pets at Sailor’s Creek Battlefield

Pets are allowed at Sailor’s Creek Battlefield State Park but must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet, or in an enclosed area. Pets are not allowed inside of facility buildings (service dogs are not considered pets). Please clean up after your pet.

Lodging Near at Sailor’s Creek Battlefield

Sailor’s Creek Battlefield State Park is only open for day use at this time but there are plenty of options for overnight accommodations nearby.
Choose whether you’d like to stay in your RV or tent, a cabin, hotel suite or cozy bed & breakfast. Here are a few different options:

  • The Hidden Depot Farms Bed & Breakfast – 23745 St James Rd, Jeffersville

    Home cooking, cozy rooms and model trains in a modern country home and farm setting just minutes from the park.

  • Sandy River Outdoor Adventure – 147 Monroe Church Rd, Rice

    Adventure park, resort hotel, cabins, cottages and cozy tipis located on a 24 acre farm 6 miles from the park.

  • Hotel Weyanoke – 202 High St, Farmville

    Spend the night in this restored 1925 brick building that also has 2 restaurants, a rooftop bar and a coffee shop.

  • Holiday Inn – 404 Sunchase Blvd, Farmville

    Luxury hotel suites, complimentary breakfast, an indoor pool and a fitness center only 8 miles away from Sailor’s Creek Battlefield.

Attractions Near at Sailor’s Creek Battlefield

Visit these nearby state parks for more trails to explore and also for opportunities to fish, boat, swim, camp and enjoy nature:

For shopping, dining, lodging and more entertainment visit Farmville.

Park Location

Sailor’s Creek Battlefield State Park
6541 Sayler’s Creek Rd
Rice, VA 23966
Phone: 804.561.7510

Website

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Sailor’s Creek Battlefield State Park: