Major General Benjamin Butler USA
Major General P.T. Beauregard CSA
Built in May 1864 and first named Fort Howlett, the battery was renamed after Colonel Olin M. Dantzler who was killed June 2, 1864 in an attempt to capture Fort Dutton. Leading the 22nd South Carolina Infantry Regiment the attack failed. Battery Dantzler, a Confederate battery, was constructed to stop Union naval forces from advancing up the James River. By January 1865, it was armed with two 10" columbiads, one 7" Brooke rifle and one 10" mortar. It was manned by the Johnston Artillery under Captain B.J. Epes. The battery was abandoned April 2, 1865.
The was one of the final major naval battles of the American Civil War. Beginning on January 23, 1865, a powerful flotilla of Confederate warships bombarded Fort Brady along the James River and engaged four Union Navy ships with the intention of breaking through the blockade to attack City Point, the base of General Ulysses S. Grant who was besieging Petersburg, Virginia. After two days of fighting the rebels withdrew back up the river without completing their objectives. Click on photograph for a larger view.
One Hundred and Fifty-Nine years ago and just shy of 20 years old, Samuel Ali Mann from Matoaca, Va., joined the Confederate Army. He enlisted at the Chesterfield County historic 1749 courthouse and was hastily trained in Manchester. He was sent to Drewry’s Bluff to help build a fort and protect Richmond from Union Gun Boats. He was one of 200 soldiers at the fort and working day and night with a pick and shovel during a heavy rain, the fort was almost completed when reports of Union ships were sighted coming up the James River. On May 15, 1862, the four-hour Battle of Drewry’s Bluff began. Samuel Mann, the first sergeant of his Company and a gun-pointer, manned his cannon. The Federal ships were the Monitor, the Iron-clad Galena, and three wooden gunboats. The Chesterfield battery had three huge Columbiad cannon, two of these were lost during the fight but the Union ships were repelled. As they were leaving, Sergeant Mann asked his lieutenant for permission to fire “one more time”. Samuel Mann aimed the gun and ran to his observation point and gave the order to fire. His shot ricocheted and bounced through one of the wooden ships. It put a hole from astern to stem in that wooden ship as big as a barrel. Samuel Mann eventually was with Lee’s army when it surrendered at Appomattox.
Major General Henry Heth was Confederate commander during the Civil War who saw service both in Kentucky and with the Army of Northern Virginia. An early favorite of General Robert E. Lee, he saw action in many of the famed leader's campaigns in the East and is best remembered for initiating the action that led to the Battle of Gettysburg. Heth continued to lead a division in Lieutenant General Ambrose P. Hill's Third Corps for the rest of the conflict. he remained with the army until its surrender at Appomattox Court House in April 1865.
The 1749 charter was removed from the courthouse in 1865 by a union soldier and taken to New York where it was hidden until 1955, purchased and returned to Chesterfield County. It is now in the County Records Depository, a secured storage location.