Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia

ssion:   to collect, preserve, interpret and promote the county’s  past  for the education and enjoyment of present and future generations

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Howlett Line

The 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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