In 1793, the first Petersburg Courthouse was constructed on the square, just south of the current building. The current courthouse was begun in 1837 and completed in 1839. The architect was Calvin Pollard, from New York, who planned a Greek Revival structure with Corinthian columns.
Two companies of Mexican War volunteers organized and disbanded on this square. Additionally, volunteer units in the Civil War departed from this spot. The building served as Confederate headquarters during the siege. The bell tower on the top of the courthouse was used by both sides during the Siege of Petersburg as a timepiece visible over a large area of the battlefield. The courthouse was hit several times by shells during the siege.