History of the Cemetery
The cemetery adjacent to Blandford Church has been used as a burial ground since the early 18th century. The oldest marked grave dates from 1702. Among the more noted individuals buried within the cemetery is one foreigner, Major General William Phillips.
Major General William Phillips
Major General William Phillips was a British citizen and commander of the British troops during the April 25, 1781, Battle of Petersburg. Phillips died on May 13, 1781 in Petersburg following a fever that was most likely malaria or typhus.
A memorial stone, erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1914, stands adjacent to Blandford Church, marking the general location of Phillips' secret burial, done at the direction of his deputy commander, Brigadier General Benedict Arnold.
In June 1866, the first Memorial Day was celebrated in honor of the 30,000 Confederate soldiers buried on Memorial Hill inside the burial ground. The cemetery's gravestones, sculptures, and tombs represent a diverse array of 18th, 19th, and 20th century styles of funerary art.
Civil War Soldiers
Located on Memorial HIll, which is a mass grave consisiting of 30,000 interrments. The records only contain 3,700 names.
In addition, some plots feature exquisite examples of 19th century decorative iron fences. A walking tour, highlighting some of the monuments and burial sites in close vicinity of the church is incorporated into the church tour, weather permitting.
More extensive cemetery tours are offered throughout the year, including a Halloween evening tour on October 31. Check the calendar for additional information.
Begin your tour of Historic Blandford Church and Cemetery at the Blandford Visitors' Reception Center, 111 Rochelle Lane, Petersburg, VA 23803, (804) 733-2396. The reception center features a display of artifacts associated with the history of the Cemetery and Church as well as a gift shop.