Chesterfield County

A few battles occurring in Chesterfield County, VA


Drewry's Bluff (May 15, 1862)

With the fall of Yorktown, the Confederate ironclad Virginia at Norfolk was scuttled to prevent her capture. This opened the James River to Federal gunboats. On May 15, five gunboats, including the ironclads Monitor and Galena, steamed up the James to test the Richmond defenses. They encountered submerged obstacles and deadly accurate fire from the batteries at Drewry's Bluff, which inflicted severe damage on the Galena. The Federal Navy was turned back.


Port Walthall Junction (May 6–7, 1864)

On May 6, Brig. Gen. Johnson Hagood's brigade stopped initial Federal probes at Port Walthall Junction, a junction critical to controlling the railroad. On May 7, a Union division drove Hagood's and Bushrod Johnson's brigades from the depot and cut the railroad. Confederate defenders retired behind Swift Run Creek and awaited reinforcements. Soldiers of the Confederate States of America later melted down the railroad tracks leading to the port to manufacture cannon.

Swift Creek (May 9)

Butler made a thrust toward Petersburg and was met by Johnson's division at Swift Creek. A premature Confederate attack at Arrowfield Church was driven back with heavy losses, but Union forces did not follow up. After skirmishing, Butler seemed content to tear up the railroad tracks and did not press the defenders. In conjunction with the advance to Swift Creek, five Union gunboats steamed up the Appomattox River to bombard Fort Clifton, while Brig. Gen. Edward W. Hincks's U.S. Colored Troops division struggled through marshy ground from the land side. The gunboats were quickly driven off, and the infantry attack was abandoned.

Chester Station (May 10)

Elements of Maj. Gen. Robert Ransom's division conducted a reconnaissance-in-force against a portion of Butler's army that was destroying the railroad at Chester Station. The Confederates attacked near the Winfree House, and the Federals retired to their Bermuda Hundred entrenchments.

Proctor's Creek (May 12–16)

Butler moved north against the Confederate line at Drewry's Bluff but again adopted a defensive posture when his attack was not supported by gunboats. On May 13, a Union column struck the right flank of the Confederate line at the Wooldridge House, carrying a line of works. Butler remained cautious, however, giving Beauregard time to concentrate his forces. At dawn on May 16, Ransom's division opened an attack on Butler's right flank, routing many units. Subsequent attacks lost direction in the fog, but the Federals were disorganized and demoralized. After severe fighting, Butler extricated his army from battle, withdrawing again to his Bermuda Hundred line. Butler's offensive against Richmond was effectively ended.

Ware Bottom Church (May 20)

Confederate forces under Beauregard attacked Butler's line near Ware Bottom Church. About 10,000 troops were involved in this action. After driving back Butler's advanced pickets, the Confederates constructed the Howlett Line, effectively bottling up the Federals at Bermuda Hundred.