Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia

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Bermuda Hundred Campaign

Battery Dantzler Park

The Bermuda Hundred Campaign of 1864    Battery Dantzler Park,  1820 Battery Dantzler Road, Chester, VAbATTERY dANIZLER

Battery Dantzler Park provides an excellent view of the James River from a reconstructed viewing platform. The platform is handicap accessible. The park had new interpretive signs and a Civil War Trails sign installed in 2006. The site has been adopted by the Chester Station Sons of Confederate Veterans. This organization replaced the parking lot fence, reconstructed the viewing platform and has helped keep the site mowed, and cleared of underbrush. There is a historical marker at the park.  A Virginia Civil War Trails interpretive sign is located here.

The site of Battery Dantzler in 1862 was considered the location for the main defensive river battery to block the Union navy's approach to Richmond. The site was declined in favor of Drewry's Bluff because of fears that Union forces would bypass the position by cutting a canal through at Dutch Gap. Construction of the fort here began on May 18, 1864 in response to Butler's landing at Bermuda Hundred. The fort was briefly occupied by Union infantry on June 16th when Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard pulled his men out of Bermuda Hundred to defend against Grant's first threats at Petersburg. The guns at Dantzler were dismounted and buried where they remained hidden until the Confederates re-took the position the following day. The guns were quickly remounted and on June 21st the fort exchanged fire with Union vessels in the James River.  The fort was later named Battery Dantzler in honor of Col. Olin Miller Dantzler (pictured), 22d South Carolina Infantry, who was killed in action south of here. 

(On June 2, 1864, near present day Howlett Line Park, Col. Dantzler led his regiment in an assault against Redoubt Dutton, which was manned by Company L, First Connecticut Heavy Artillery. During the attack, devastating canister shot killed Col. Dantzler along with 16 of his men. On June 13, 1864, Gen P.G.T. Beauregard issued General Orders No. 12 naming the fort at this site Battery Dantzler in the colonel's honor.)  Battery Dantzler anchored the northern end of the "Howlett Line" of earthworks that bottled up Butler's forces on the Bermuda Hundred peninsula. The Battle of Trent's Reach, one of the last naval actions of the war, took place at the foot of Battery Dantzler in January of 1865. 

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To help save historic Point of Rocks Civil War site, please donate.   Bermuda Hundred  Campaign Battle Animations are available here.   Go here for Battle Animations

 Chesterfield County contains 11 parks sites associated with the Civil War. Each of these sites has its own  unique story to tell. Collectively, these “links in a chain” tell the larger story of one of the most important military campaigns of the war but seldom told.  

           

Colonel Olin Dantzler, CSA

Col Olin DantzlerBuilt 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.

    Road Map 

Trent's Reach River View

Trent's Reach ViewThe Battle of Trent's Reach 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.

 

Samuel Mann

Samuel MannOne 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. 

General Henry Heth

General Henry HethMajor 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.

1749 Chesterfield County Charter

1749 Chesterfield County CharterThe 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.