Point of Rocks Historic Park
Point of Rocks is a historic site on the Appomattox River recently acquired and designated "Pont of Rocks Park". Here Abraham Lincoln walked with Union Generals discussing ways to win a war. Clara Barton served as the head nurse to many wounded and sick Union soldiers in the largest hospital in the world built during the Civil War. The house was used for the surgeons quarters and is still standing. In need of repairs, the house is being stabilized. There is evidence of Indians who lived on the river just below the house. It is one of Chesterfield's most historic sites.
Point of Rocks took its name from a nearby 60-foot high sandstone cliff that was located along the banks of the Appomattox River. Captain John Smith mentioned the area in his notes on Virginia. During the Civil War, the area first saw fighting in June of 1862, when Federal gunboats led by the Monitor and the Galena attempted to sail up the Appomattox River to destroy the railroad bridge at Swift Creek. During the Peninsula Campaign, General Butler established his headquarters at Point of Rocks in the early days of the Bermuda Hundred Campaign. This forced the Rev. John Alexander Strachan and his family to leave the property. Union troops constructed a field hospital built on the site using lumber from Rev. Strachan’s church which they had demolished. The Strachan house itself became the surgeons’ quarters. During the siege of Petersburg, Red Cross founder Clara Barton served at Point of Rocks as superintendent of nurses. A Federal cemetery was established on the property during the war. After the war, the dead were moved to the National Cemetery at City Point.
As Butler retreated back to his prepared positions in Bermuda Hundred, the Confederates followed and began to dig their own set of entrenchments. The Confederate fortifications and trenches became known as the Howlett Line, and prevented Butler from making any more direct threats to Richmond. Confederate and Union troops faced each other across those trenches for the rest of the war.
Chesterfield County contains 10 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. Click for a list of all Civil War roadside markers in Chesterfield.