Battle of Chester Station Drawing

The Bermuda Hundred Campaign

Battle of Chester Station

The Bermuda Hundred Campaign of 1864    Battle of Chester Station, 3011 W. Hundred Rd.


When the Federal troops reached Chester Station they were divided into two wings. The left wing, commanded by Maj. O. S. Sanford of the 7th Conn. moved up the railroad toward Chester Station, where the 6th Conn. was engaged in tearing up the track, and remained there for about an hour, when orders came to join the other column on the turnpike below. Here the right wing, commanded by Col. C. J. Dobbs of the 13th Indiana, had encountered a force of the enemy too large to overcome, and Dobbs sent back for reinforcements. In the meantime he formed line of battle with his own regiment on the left, the 169th New York on the right, one section of the 1st Connecticut battery in front, supported by a detachment of the 67th Ohio, and awaited the onset. The enemy, with infantry, cavalry and artillery, advanced, and when they were within easy range Dobbs gave the command to fire. A tremendous volley from his entire line checked the Confederate advance and a second threw them into confusion, compelling them to retire for the purpose of reforming their lines. At this juncture Sanford arrived with the left wing and went into position with the 6th Conn. on the right of the road and the 7th on the left as supports to the advanced lines. Two companies of the 7th were sent forward to support a battery and the remainder of the regiment moved up to the top of the hill and opened fire on the enemy's left, driving them back to the woods. One of the guns of the 4th New Jersey battery was abandoned by the men and an effort to capture this piece was thwarted by this regiment, Sanford sending Lieut. Barker with Co. K to bring in the gun, which he did in the face of a galling fire. The 7th New Hampshire came up and went into position just as the Confederates advanced again, having been reinforced, and again they were allowed to come within easy range, when they were greeted with a murderous fire from both artillery and infantry. This settled the contest. After a vain endeavor to rally the shattered ranks the Confederate officers gave up the attempt and sought the cover of the woods. General A. H. Terry, commanding the 1st division, 10th corps, arrived on the field after the action had begun, and during the latter part of the engagement directed the movements of the troops. 

 

Confederates tried twice to break the line. To your left, the 9th and 38th Virginia Infantry charged down the turnpike, and part of the 169th New York Infantry gave way, abandoning that portion of the line and one cannon. The 14th, 53rd, and 57th Virginia Infantry converged from three directions to make the second assault on the Federals around the Winfree House. As the defenders' ammunition dwindled, desperately needed Union infantry and artillery reinforcements arrived just in time, deploying directly into the Winfree House lane and along the turnpike and checking the Virginians' advance. Outnumbered, the beleaguered Southerners began to give ground.  Adding to the confusion, Federal artillery shells ignited the woods early in the action, and the smoke and flames driving into the Confederate lines which blinded them and deranged the precision of movements. ( Brig. Gen. Seth Barton C.S.A.).   Both sides fought gallantly and fiercely including hand-to-hand combat. The Federals soon retired to their Bermuda Hundred lines.  Two Confederate brigades had faced an Ohio regiment, which was pushed back despite arrival of reinforcements from Hawley's brigade that arrived on the field. The growing Union reinforcements started to outnumber them, and the Confederates were compelled to retire to Drewry's Bluff, while at the same time the Federals withdrew east to Bermuda Hundred. The result was a draw with neither side having surrendered, been defeated, or gained any ground. The Union forces succeeded in destroying some railroad track, and the Confederate forces succeeded in stopping them from doing any more damage. Maj. Gen. Ransom relieved Brig. Gen. Barton of his command, and Col. Voris was brevetted Brigadier General for meritorious service.

Battle of Chester Station

 

After falling back to his prepared position in the Bermuda Hundred peninsula, Gen. Butler devised a plan to build a canal across the neck of land known as Dutch Gap. The purpose of the canal was to bypass Battery Dantzler and other Confederate guns along the James River. The canal was built using the assistance of the Black soldiers assigned to General Butler.   Dirt frfom the site was hauled away in wagons.

 Road Map  

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