Lynchburg during the Civil War served an important, though often overlooked, role. As a valuable commercial center in the region, it was the location of the Battle of Lynchburg and General Lee’s planned destination on his retreat from Richmond before having to surrender at Appomattox.
The city was a thriving community at the time of the Civil War. In the 1850s, it was the second wealthiest city per capita in the United States thanks to its tobacco industry, as well as prime location along the James River and Kanawha Canal. Three different railroad lines also fed into the city, connecting it with Richmond and the Tidewater, Tennessee, and Alexandria.