Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia

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Bermuda Hundred Campaign

Howlett Line

Howlett Line Park SignThe Bermuda Hundred Campaign of 1864     Howlett Line   14100 Howlett Line Road, Chesterfield, VA

The park is named for the line of Confederate earthworks that once stretched for more than three miles from the James River to the Appomattox River, still has one of the artillery positions placed along that line. These provided interlocking fields of fire that enabled the Confederates to cover the entire front with a minimum of infantry support.

After the Battle of Ware Bottom Church on May 20, 1864, Confederate forces began digging earthworks that became known as the Howlett Line, named after the Howlett house, which stood at the northernmost point.  The line stretched across the Bermuda Hundred peninsula from the James River to the Appomattox River. These fortifications effectively "bottled up" the 30,000-man Army of the James led by Gen. Benjamin F. Butler. The Confederates at this location exchanged fire with Union forts Dutton McConihe, Anderson and Pruyn until the position was abandoned after the fall of Petersburg in April 1865. The site was donated as a park by Mr. B. Forace Hill in 1991. 

 On June 2, 1864 Col. Olin M. Dantzler led an attack from the site toward a nearby Federal position known as Fort Dutton. Using the ravine just to the south of Howlett Line Park as cover, Dantzler moved his men to within 150 yards of the fort. Dantzler and his men emerged from the ravine and pushed back part of the 7th Connecticut before they were met with canister from the guns at Fort Dutton. Col. Dantzler and 16 of his men were killed in the failed assault.    As the Confederates emerged from the ravine, they were met with canister from the guns of the 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery. Col. Dantzler and 16 of his men were killed in the failed assault. General Beauregard ordered the fort on the James River near the Howlett house to be named in Dantzler's honor. That site is preserved today as Battery Dantzler Park.  There is a historical marker  and interpretive signs at the park.  The park features a trail with interpretive signage.


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


Preserving Civil War Sites


Preserving Civil War Sites:    The Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia is dedicated to preserving the Civil War sites in Chesterfield County.  These sites are being maintained presently by volunteers.  If you have a passion for preservation, please consider a donation to help establish historical markers and site maintenance.  An entire Conferderate fort was still in existence that was part of the Howlett Line defenses.  The fort was never used but it was built in case it was needed.  This fort will be bulldozed to make way for a car repair shop.  As hard s we tried, we were unsuccessful in saving this for future generations.  Donations are welcomed.


Colonel Olin Dantzler, CSA and Battery Dantzler

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  

Reverend John Strachan Home

Point of RocksSitting on a high Bluff in the Enon area of Chesterfield is the the home of the Revened John Strachan.  He was forced from his home by the Union Army where a large hospital was built.  It took him a few years to reclaim his property that had been in the family since the early 1600's.   It was the only time in history that the property was not used by the family.



A Confederate Fort

A Confederate FortA Confederate Fort in Chesterfield County that would not be saved and allowed a car dealer to bulldozed the site.  Such sites in Chesterfield are not high on the County's things to save.  History is always at risk of destruction.

WareBottom Church Battlefield

Warebottom Church DrawingThe church, one of the oldest in Virginia, was destroyed during the fighting. The church stood until June 18, 1864, when it became a source of annoyance for Parker's Virginia Battery, only a few hundred yards west of the church. Federal sharpshooters had been using the church to harass the gunners. In 2009, 2 acres of this historic site was donated to the Richmond Battlefields Association by a local company..


Donations are always needed to help stem the destruction of historically comnnected sites.  Please make a donation to the Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia. See the address in the right sidebar.  You can help us preserve our history.