Despite the march of bedroom communities from Richmond, rural Amelia County manages to retain a countrified air. Formed in 1734 from Prince George and Brunswick counties, its name honors Amelia Sophia Eleanora, daughter of King George II. In 1781 the county was raided by General Banastre Tarleton's British troops. Playing a more pivotal role in the Civil War, Amelia found itself in the path of Robert E. Lee's retreat. At Sailor's (or Sayler's) Creek (see AA17), the last major battle of the Civil War took place, ending three days later with the surrender at Appomattox. Consequently, a number of Amelia County's early buildings have important wartime associations that add to their significance.
In Amelia, as in the rest of Southside, tobacco, which was once the all-powerful king of crops, is being unseated. Important now are soybeans, hay and feed grains, dairying, and livestock. Forestry and wood products and the production of office supplies bolster the economy. The mining of mica, feldspar for pottery, soapstone, and a few other minerals has played a minor but significant part in the local economy.
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