Civil War History
On May 15, 1862, a Union flotilla, led by ironclads USS Monitor and Galena, was instructed to “shell [Richmond] to a surrender.” Union and Confederate Marines faced each other during the four-hour battle as Richmond’s fate hung in the balance. The Confederates prevailed and Richmond was never again seriously threatened by a water-based attack. For his bravery during the battle, Union Cpl. John Mackie became the first U.S. Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
The Civil War in Chesterfield County
Many people recognize the major battles of the Civil War – Gettysburg, Manassas, Antietam, Shiloh or Cold Harbor. Yet, the smaller battles and campaigns were just as significant to the soldiers who fought and the civilians along their path. All of these engagements, big and small, tell the whole story of the Civil War, a war that was fought on the feet of men marching 15 to 40 miles a day, advancing and retreating, in victory and defeat.
In Chesterfield County, discover some of the lesser-known stories of the war. The county’s strategic location near the capital of the Confederacy meant it was the center of several major campaigns, both on land and in the water. One campaign in particular, Union Gen. Benjamin Butler’s Bermuda Hundred Campaign of 1864, might have ended the war a year sooner had Butler been successful in capturing Richmond. Explore Bermuda Hundred, Drewry’s Bluff and eight other sites throughout the county that may not be as well-known, but were every bit as important as some of the bigger battles.
Learn more about Chesterfield County’s role during the Civil War
The Bermuda Hundred Tour Guide contains information about 26 Civil War sites, represented in chronological order, associated with the Bermuda Hundred Campaign in Chesterfield County, Colonial Heights and Hopewell. The book contains 58 pages filled with photographs, narratives and maps. Modern maps were geo-referenced with historic maps, and other battle maps were created using descriptions of the roads in the official records. Driving directions are included.
The book may be found at the Chesterfield Historical Society of Va. research library in Historic Trinity Church, at Henricus Historical Park, Pamplin Historical Park or by ordering online at chesterfieldhistory.com. The price is $12. Proceeds will be used to fund trails and new interpretive signs for the county.
For more information, call 804-796-7131.
Throughout the Civil War, the county’s railroads carried supplies to Richmond, capital of the Confederacy, and its coal fueled the ironworks at Bellona Arsenal and Tredegar. Drewry's Bluff becomes an important training ground for the Confederate Naval Academy and the Confederate Marine Corps Camp of Instruction. The Bermuda Hundred Campaign was fought throughout the county in 1864 as 38,000 federal troops landed and engaged Confederate troops. Casualties on both sides totaled nearly 6,000 killed, wounded or missing.
Discover the impact of the Bermuda Hundred Campaign by taking one of several driving tours, take a guided walking tour or a pontoon boat tour of the Appomattox and James Rivers.
Enjoy one of the many sites preserved throughout the county and learn more about how each of these played a role during the war.
During 1864 leaders with the Army of the James and Confederate forces engaged in key battles during the Bermuda Hundred Campaign throughout Chesterfield County.
In Chesterfield County, discover some of the lesser-known stories of the war. Explore Bermuda Hundred, Drewry’s Bluff and eight other sites throughout the county that may not be as well-known, but were every bit as important as some of the bigger battles.