Petersburg is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 32,420. It is located on the Appomattox River (a tributary of the longer larger James River flowing east to meet the southern mouth of the Chesapeake Bay at the Hampton Roads harbor and the Atlantic Ocean). The city is just 21 miles (34 km) south of the historic commonwealth (state) capital city of Richmond. The city's unique industrial past and its location as a transportation hub combined to create wealth for Virginia and the Middle Atlantic and Upper South regions of the nation.