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The Civil War in Chesterfield County....

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Thank you for visiting the Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia. We have a rich Civil War history to tell and show our visitors.  In 1861, Chesterfield County was assured a prominent role in the Civil War due to its geographic proximity to Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy. Its location, combined with various railroads and the James and Appomattox rivers, made it an obvious target for the Union army and navy. Action began in the spring of 1862, when a Union naval fleet, led by the famous ironclad U.S.S. Monitor, steamed up the James River. The only thing that stood in their way was an unfinished fort at Drewry�s Bluff, just eight miles below Richmond. On May 15, Confederate guns in the fort fired on the Union ships. When the smoke cleared, the heavily damaged Union fleet was forced to retreat. Casualties were slight on both sides, and Chesterfield County had a two-year reprieve before seeing action again. The first major action of the Civil War in Chesterfield County took place on May 15, 1862 when a federal flotilla led by the Union ironclad USS Monitor headed toward Richmond on the James River. The Federals were turned back after a three hour battle with Confederate guns at Drewry's Bluff.


In the spring of 1864, the war again came directly to Chesterfield County when Union Major General Benjamin F. Butler landed the Army of the James on the Bermuda Hundred peninsula. Butler's mission was to secure a base of operations and then advance on Richmond. During the first days of May, Butler made tentative advances forward, but then fell back to his defensive positions at Bermuda Hundred. The Battle of Drewry's Bluff on May 16 halted Butler's greatest attempt to move on Richmond.  As Butler retreated to his prepared positions in Bermuda Hundred, the Confederates followed and began to dig their own set of entrenchments. 'The Confederate fortifications and trenches prevented Butler from making any more direct threats to Richmond and became known as the Howlett Line. Confederate and Union troops faced each other across those trenches for the rest of the war.    Pictured below are General P.T. Beauregarde and Benjamin Butler who prosecuted theCivil War campaign in Chesterfield County, Virginia.


Chesterfield County's Civil War and the Bermuda Hundred Campaign Sites     Lt General Grant's Plan  (Battle Animation)

Battle Animations

Gen. P.T. Beauregarde    Major General Benjamin Butler, U.S.A. 

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Chesterfield County Civil War
Parks and Battle Sites

 Dutch
Gap Cana
l  

Ft Stevens 

Howlett Line 

Historic Point of Rocks 

Chester Station


Parkers Battery  

Trent's Reach


Fort Wead/Sgt Engle Park

Dodd Park
at Point of Rock 

2nd Drewy's Bluff

39th
Illinois Park  

Ware Bottom Church   (NPS Site)

 

Midlothian Mines     Other Sites

The Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia Headquarters and research library has moved into the old historic Trinity Church .  See the news media information.  Please contact us:  (804)796-7121.  Hours of Operation:  Monday-Friday from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm.

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