The Bermuda Hundred Campaign

General Ulysses S. Grant

Advance on Richmond

On May 11, 1864, the Army of the James recovers after the battles of Swift Creek and Chester Station.  The Confederates assemble two divisions in Petersburg and march to Drewry's Bluff.  Major General Butler had no plans for May 11 except to improve his defenses to his trench works.  The Confederates had other plans.  Richmond had been pleading for help from General Beauregard to protect the Capitol.  Beauregard pondered how he was going to do this.  However, 11,000 Confederates simply walked the ten miles to Drewry's Bluff unencumbered.  Butler's hesitation on his May 12 battle plans provided the Confederates time to strengthen their positions.  On May 12, the 18th Corps forms the attack force with a two division front. Brigadier General Adelbert Ame's Division of the 10th Corps forms as the Army rear guard.  The Army of the James halts its advance on Richmond when the Confederate rear guard engages from Redwater Creek and then withdraws.  The Federals shift to the right and extend their line to the left.  On the evening of May 12, the Army of the James halts it advance on Richmond when the Confederates rear guard attacks from Proctors Creek.  The Federals did little on May 12 except to position various divisions along the way to Drewry's Bluff.  The 18th Corps attacks the Confederates but makes no contact.  General A.V. Kautz led a cavalry raid on Chesterfield Courthouse, set prisoners free from the jail and proceeding to Midlothian to tear up tracks of the Danville & Richmond Railroad.  The next day on May 13, 1864, the 18th Corps attacks but makes no contact when the Confederates rear guard withdraws during the night.  The 18th Corps halts when confronted with the Confederate outer defenses.

General Ulysses S. Grant

Battle of Wooldridge Hill 

(May 11 -15th, 1864)  The Battle of Wooldridge Hill is part of the campaign for Drewry's Bluff.   On May 11, 1864, The Army of the James made an attempted thrust towards the capital of the Confederacy, Richmond, VA.  Advancing along the Richmond Petersburg Turnpike, the Union forces reached a high hill overlooking Proctors Creek in Chesterfield County.  Taking a good part of the day, the Union Army crossed Proctors Creek heading toward the Chesterfield Courthouse.  They turned east behind the Confederate line.  They were met by the Confederate forces.  Woolridge Hill is a small ridge running north to south parallel to the Richmond& Petersburg Railroad.  The battle here was no small battle.  Ransome's North Carolinians fought well against the 10th Corps but felt the pincer movement.  Major General Hoke abandoned the works at Woolridge Hill leaving his Federal prisoners and 13 dead.  The Union Army occupied the site.  They rested but General Beauregard arrived at Drewry's Bluff on May 14th and had plans to give them a bigger battle the next day. This battle is detailed in the "Bermuda Hundred Tour Guide book "available at our public research library and our online store.

General Ulysses S. Grant

2nd Drewery's Bluff

This battle actually began at Fort Stevens on May 14, 1864, with a cannon duel. Fort Stevens, the main bastion of the Drewry's Bluff inner line, was the center of the Confederate attack against Union General Butler.  Positioned here were General Hagood's South Carolinians forces and the four guns of the Virginia Surry Light Artillery.  It became the pivotal point for a major Confederate counterattack and halted the advancing Union troops.  This battle was the largest of the Bermuda Hundred Campaign.

General Ulysses S. Grant

3rd Port Walthal Battle

As fighting continued at Drewry's Bluff, General Whiting is unable to hear the sounds of battle, and he is wary of being attacked.  He timidly approaches the Federal rear guard.  Facing only light resistance from two regiments from Brigadier General Adelbert Ames' Division the Confederates advance, then pull back and finally withdraw to Swift Creek. The Army of the James returns from the retreat a Drewry's Bluff unhindered.


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