Sailor’s Creek Battlefield State Park

Important Notices

COVID-19 & the VBWTBefore heading out to visit a site on the Virginia Bird & Wildlife Trail, be sure to check if that site has any COVID-19 policies or closures in place. This information is typically posted on a site's own website.

Description

Four hiking trails provide access to explore the historic battlefield. A diversity of birds may be observed: songbirds, herons, and several species of raptors, including northern harrier (especially near the visitor center) and the occasional bald eagle.  These open fields are also excellent spots to look for butterflies. Search around the woodland edges for hackberry emperors and in the more open areas for viceroys and brilliant red-spotted purples.

Near the Overton-Hillsman House, check the treetops for singing eastern bluebirds and American goldfinches. Occasionally northern flickers come by in noisy family groups and red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks can be seen soaring overhead. Check the numerous woodpiles for northern mockingbirds and house wrens, which will often sit out in the open and berate their watchers.

From the Custis-Lee Trail, Kershaw Trail, and the grounds around the Overton-Hillsman House, various amphibians and small mammals may be seen, as well white-tailed deer, foxes, and the occasional black bear.

The park is in the midst of a multi-phase landscape restoration project that involves reforestation and grassland restoration to better represent the battlefield as it appeared in 1865 when the battle occurred.

History of the Site

On April 6, 1865, nearly a quarter of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s army, more than 7,700 men, were killed, wounded or captured here. Lee surrendered 72 hours later at Appomattox Court House. Historical interpreters, living history events, and interpretive signs educate visitors on the battle. A free tour may be arranged (during visitor center hours) of the Overton-Hillsman House, which served as a field hospital during the battle.

 

Directions

Physical Address: 6541 Saylers Creek Rd., Rice, Va 23966

From U.S. 460, take Route 617/ Saylers Creek Rd. to the park.

From U.S. 360, take State Route 307 (connecting highway between U.S. 360 and U.S. 460) to Route 617 North/ Saylers Creek Rd.

Location & Directions

View on Google Maps

Site Information

  • Site Contact: 804-561-7510; sailorscreek@dcr.virginia.gov
  • Website
  • Access: Grounds and Trails: free, open daily, sunrise - sunset; Visitor Center: open 9-5 daily and closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day

Birds Recently Seen at Sailor’s Creek Battlefield State Park (as reported to eBird)

  • Mourning Dove
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Blue Jay
  • American Crow
  • Carolina Wren
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • Northern Cardinal

Seasonal Bird Observations

Facilities

  • Visitor/Nature Center
  • Environmental Study Area
  • Accessible
  • Hiking Trails
  • Interpretive Trail
  • Parking
  • Picnic
  • Restrooms