VETS: Poplar Grove National Cemetery Annual Luminary Event

On Saturday, Nov. 10, Petersburg National Battlefield will honor veterans, past and present, by literally shedding light on the gravesites of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in order to defend their country. The 7th Annual Luminary program will take place at Poplar Grove National Cemetery. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m. 

Parking for the event will be at Good Shepherd Baptist Church located at 2223 South Crater Road in Petersburg. Free shuttle buses will transport visitors to and from the cemetery. The last shuttle bus to depart for the Cemetery will leave at 7:30 p.m. There will be no parking allowed at Poplar Grove National Cemetery.

The evening program at Poplar Grove National Cemetery includes each of the 6,000 graves being marked with a luminary candle, “Taps” being played, and selected stories of those who laid down their lives for their beliefs. Included in this year’s event will be descendents of Mohican Civil War soldiers, who will provide information about Native American soldier, John B. Coyhis who is buried at Poplar Grove and provide information about Wisconsin Native American Tribes who were involved in the Siege of Petersburg. Visitors are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes as the cemetery ground is uneven. Flashlights are also recommended to avoid stepping on tree roots.

Those who are interested in volunteering to light the luminaries are asked to please call Petersburg National Battlefield to register. There are 50 volunteer positions available and volunteers must bring their own lighters.  

This event may be cancelled due to bad weather. For more information, including program status or to register as a volunteer, please call Petersburg National Battlefield at (804) 732-3531, ext. 200.

Poplar Grove National Cemetery was established in 1866. Prior to the Civil War, the land where the cemetery now exists, belonged to Reverend Thomas B. Flowers. During the Civil War, the future cemetery grounds were used as a campground by the 50th New York Engineers during the Siege of  Petersburg. Today, there are close to 6,200 soldiers buried in the cemetery, however, only 2,139 have been positively identified.

Petersburg National Battlefield was created in order to commemorate the campaign and siege and defense of Petersburg, Virginia, in 1864 and 1865. The park staff is committed to preserving and protecting the historical, cultural, and natural resources within the park in a manner that will provide interpretation, education, and enjoyment for the visitors. Park Visitor Centers, located in Petersburg, Hopewell, and Dinwiddie County are each open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. The fee to enter the park is $5 per vehicle.  The Petersburg National Battlefield annual pass and federal recreation passes are also honored. For more information about events at Petersburg National Battlefield, become a fan on our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter @PetersburgNPS.


Luminaries at Petersburg, VA

We were so honored to be a presence in this ceremony at Petersburg. We visited in late september and were so impressed by the knowledge, attitude and professionalism that we needed to be a part of this ceremony. I am a retired Army Sergeant , as was the guide. The tour was so informative and entertaining. My son, Father, nephew,Dianes Father, brother, all Grandfathers, and many friends were all veterans. We love the United States and the Petersburg program. Thanks to all who have served in any capacity. Tony Nicholson Mattoon Illinois 61938

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