Point of Rocks - CHSV

Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia
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Point of Rocks

Historic Point of Rocks
Point of Rocks Historic Park

Point of Rocks is a historic site on the Appomattox River recently acquired and designated "Point of Rocks Historic Park". Here  Abraham Lincoln walked with Union Generals discussing ways to win a war. Clara Barton, along with Nurse Harriet Dame, 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.  Harriet Dame had a small "hut" built just outside the main house.

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 on Richmond. Confederate and Union troops faced each other across those trenches for the rest of the war.

Point of Rocks Facts

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 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.  There is evidence of Native American Indians who lived on the river just below the house. It is one of Chesterfield's most historic sites.

Point of Rocks Park Notes
Since the site was purchased by Chesterfield County, there have been a number of delays to prevent the park from being a viable place for families and Civil War enthusiests from using the park.  Covid 19 dealt a mean blow to the restoration project, and there were little or no monies projected to complete the project and other stoppages. Point of Rocks can capture the history of the Native Americans who hunted, fished and lived on this site.  Over 300 years of history is just waiting to be exploited and our school age children have much to learn.  Chesterfield  County is missing out on the Civil War tourism that most states are striving to capture.

The last pictiure on the right above shows the Strachan House at Point of Rocks in its present condition and we give credit to the Parks and Recreation fleadership who have seen to the work of restoration.  There is much to be done at the historic home and the park itself. We are looking at a probable 3 year timeline to completion barring any further delays.  We are keen to showing the historical points of the famous people who came to work at the site or visit to discuss the times and events at hand.   We can show where Abraham Lincoln stood and decided how to win a long war.  History is begging to be told at Point of Rocks.  Togeter with the Parks and Recreation leadership and the CHSV historical interpretors, we can have a viable historical park.
Military History Committee
Military History Committee Chair:
Scott Williams

About  Us :  We meet at the Historic Trinity Church in Chesterfield, VA.  We research military history and historical sites within Chesterfield  County and develop educational and tourist information on military history pertaining to Chesterfield County. We also help to preserve and  maintain the military integrity of the Civil War sites in the county and  sponsor the annual Veterans Day programs at the historic 1917  Courthouse.  Our History Committee consists of two sub-committees.  If  you are an avid military enthusiast, we encourage you to join the CHSV and the Military History Committee.   
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