The Bermuda Hundred Campaign
Battles at Port Walthall Junction
At about 4:00 PM on May 6, 1864 Brig. Gen. Charles Heckman's brigade moved down Ruffin Mill Road toward Port Walthall Junction where 600 soldiers from Brig. Gen. Johnson Hagood's South Carolina brigade awaited in a sunken road (Woods Edge Road today). Under strict orders not to bring on a general engagement, Heckman deployed his brigade and attacked with the 9th New Jersey regiment. The attack did not dislodge the South Carolinians and Heckman returned his brigade to Cobb's Hill that evening.
As Heckman withdrew, more South Carolina troops arrived at Port Walthall Junction. They were joined by Brig. Gen. Bushrod Johnson's Tennessee brigade with 1,200 men. This combined force fell back behind the Richmond & Petersburg Railroad. On May 7, 1864 the Federals attacked toward the railroad with four brigades totaling 8,000 men. The Federals were again unable to dislodge the Confederates and returned to their earthworks after destroying a small stretch of the rail line. That evening, Hagood's and Johnson's brigades marched down the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike to a better defensive position south of Swift Creek. The battles of Port Walthall Junction took place where the Walthall interchange is today on l-95.
The Battle of Swift Creek
On May 9, Federal troops again moved toward Port Walthall Junction. After destroying buildings and track at Chester Station, they marched south and made contact with Confederate forces where present day Rt.1 crosses Swift Creek. Due to conflicting orders, South Carolina troops mistakenly attacked the much larger Federal force and suffered devastating losses. That evening Maj. Gen. Butler decided to disengage and return his army to the Federal lines in Bermuda Hundred to prepare for an advance on Richmond.
The Battle of Chester Station
On the morning of May 10, while the Army of the James was moving back to its Bermuda Hundred lines. Brig. Gen. Seth Barton's Virginia brigade and Brig. Gen. Archibald Gracie's Alabama brigade attacked rear guard elements of the Federal 10th Corps at Chester Station (Near the intersection of present day Rt.1 and Rt. 10). The attack broke one Federal regiment and captured a section of artillery. Three Federal brigades marching from Swift Creek were diverted to Chester Station and arrived just in time to restore the line and recapture the lost artillery. The Confederates broke contact and returned to Drewry's Bluff.
First Battle of Port Walthall Junction
Second Battle of Port Walthall Junction
Battle of Swift Creek
Battle of Chester Station
Maps courtesy of Chesterfield Historical Society of VirginiaThis sign was sponsored by Carol and Benjamin Buckley, Fairfax Station, VA