The first week in May, 147 years ago, brought Union troops on the ground to Chesterfield. The Civil War had arrived. On May 4, 1864, General Ulysses S. Grant put his grand campaign into motion. While sending a diversion brigade to West Point, Major General Benjamin F. Butler and 40,000 troops steamed their way up the James River.
Some of Butler’s brigades attacked and captured key forts on their way to Bermuda Hundred. Fort Pocahontas, Fort Powhatan and City Point became the communication connection along the James. According to the “Bermuda Hundred Campaign Tour Guide” by principal author Major (Ret.) Robert Forman, by May 6, Butler’s 40,000 had arrived and began their advance up the Bermuda Hundred peninsula.
The small garrison at Bermuda Hundred had been caught off guard by the arrival of Butler’s men, and on the morning of the very warm spring day, Union troops marched up what is now Bermuda Hundred Road. They followed Bermuda Hundred Road for about two miles until that reached Enon Church. There they branched out and headed to Point of Rocks and Ware Bottom Spring.
Butler had control of Bermuda Hundred, and battles and skirmishes would follow, but Butler’s army would eventually be bottled up and never leave Bermuda for the rest of the war. Pick up a copy of the “Bermuda Hundred Campaign Tour Guide” at the Chesterfield Historical Society’s gift shop at Magnolia Grange.