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The Civil War in Chesterfield County...Bermuda Hundred Campaign

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Historic Bermuda Hundred Village    Take Route 10 to Allied Road, to Bermuda Hundred Road. 

 

On to Richmond:  On April 15, 1861 President Abraham Lincoln issued a call for 75,000 men to enlist in the Army for 90 days in order to suppress the rebellion and to cause the laws to be duly executed.  Ninety days to equip, train and fight a campaign that would begin and end the war all at once.  With Richmond Virginia a little more than 100 miles from Washington DC.

 "On to Richmond became the clarion call.  The first on to Richmond campaign began with President Lincoln giving  command of the army to Major General Irwin McDowell who moved against Richmond  in July 1861 on the direct overland route from Washington to Richmond. The first battle of the war was Bull Run, a defeat for the Union Army and for Preseident Abraham Lincoln's hope for a quick war ended.
 
 Grant's Plan:  In April 1864 newly promoted Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant assumed command of all Federal armies.  His first task was to devise a strategic plan to destroy the Confederate armies and end the war. Grant's plan called for the main attack to be made by Major General George Meade's Army of the Potomac with 120,000 soldiers.  Meade's mission was to destroy the Army of Northern Virginia with 60,000 troops, still under the command of General Robert E. Lee.  Lee's mission was simply to defend Richmond at all costs.  Major General Franz Sigel with 6,500 soldiers in the Valley Army was given the secondary mission to advance towards Staunton, attack the Confederate forces in the Shenandoah Valley under General John Breckinridge and prevent them from reinforcing Lee. 

If the military situation allowed it, Sigel was to advance against Richmond from the west.  Major General Benjamin F. Butler was to gather 40,000 troops at Yorktown and Gloucester, and support Major General Meade's offensive by attacking Richmond from the south side of the James River. Lieutenant General Grant's plan called for the Federal forces to meet at Richmond in just ten days there to join in the final destruction of the Army of Northern Virginia, the capture of Richmond, and the end of the war.  General Grant set the morning of May 4th, 1864 for the start of his offensive.
 

 

Bermuda Hundred Landing:   (May 4-6, 1864): In early May 1864, Union Gen. Benjamin Butler landed his Army of the James in Chesterfield County, between Richmond and Petersburg, and threatened both cities in his drive west from landings between the James and Appomattox Rivers. The Confederates under Gen. P.G.T.  Beauregard blocked him. Within weeks, Butler was trapped between the two rivers and remained there until Petersburg was evacuated in April 1865. To deceive the Confederates as to the date and location of his attack, on May 1st Major General Butler conducts a feint up the York River and along the peninsula. Colonel Guy V. Henry's brigade is transported to West Point where work is begun to repair the port.

Colonel George W. Cole's cavalry brigage marches along the peninsula as flank protection.  On May 2, 1864, the 1st United States Colored Calvary skirmishes with Confederates forces guarding the Jones Bridge over the Chickahominy River.  The Federal Calvary om May 3, 1864 is recalled to Williamsburg.  And a day later, the Army of the Potomac crossed the Rhapadan River and entered into the "wilderness"  In the early morning hours of May 4, 1864, the Army of the James began laoding aboard transport ships anchored in the mouth of the York River.  The 18th Corps embarked from its camps around Yorktown, followed by the 1oth Corps from its cam in Gloucester.  That eevening the flotilla steamed into Chesapeake Bay and anchored Fortress Monroe.  On the Morning of May 5, the Army of the James steamed up the James River, landing Brigadier General Edward A. Wild's Brigade of Unted States Colored Troops at Fort Pocahontas and Fort Powhatan.  General Kautz'z calvary division departs to destry railroad bridges over the Nottoway River.  The Army of the James captures City Point and lands the 18th Corps at Bermuda Hundred.

 

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Civil War Tour Guide Book The Bermuda Hundred Campaign Tour Guide Book tells (with maps,photographs and site battle descriptions) the pivotal role that Chesterfield County played during the last year of the Civil War, a role often overshadowed by bigger battles fought at the same time in Virginia.  On sale now at the Magnolia Grange Gift Shop - Go here for more information

 

 

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Bermuda Hundred Campaign in

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Bermuda Hundred Campaign Battle Animations

 

Our Battle animations show troop movements as they occurred in 1864 in Chesterfield County, Virginia. Our thanks to Robert Forman, Major, U.S. Army (Ret), author of the Bermuda Hundred Tour Guide book, for his hard work on presenting the campaign in a graphic view. These are excellent animations. Hi Tour Guide book is available at the Magnolia Grange Gift Shop located in the Magnolia Grange Museum Home in Chesterfield, Virginia. Please enjoy.  Please Note:  For the animated maps, once on the  map page, you can click on the icon at the bottom right of the page to make the presentation larger.  

We are grateful to Chesterfield County Civil War Historians George Fickett, Scott Williams and Robert Forman for their extensive research and documentation of our Civil War sites.  Their efforts have accuarately recorded the events that occurred here.  Too many books, maps, brochures and Civil war tours have overlooked the Bermuda Hundred Campaign. 


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