Point of Rocks

Point of Rocks (HM10PJ)

Location: Chester, VA 23836 Chesterfield County
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 19.308', W 77° 21.32'

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U.S. Military Hospital Site

— Bermuda Hundred —

Point of Rocks, named for a sandstone cliff on the Appomattox River, marked the southern end of the Union defensive line that stretched across the Bermuda Hundred peninsula. In May 1864, the Union army seized property east of the present-day park from its owner, the Rev. John Alexander Strachan, and built a field hospital there. The Strachan house became the surgeons' quarters, and a cemetery was also established on the property. After the war, the remains were removed to City Point National Cemetery and a freedman's village was established there for newly freed African Americans. Strachan appealed to federal authorities for the return of his property and wrote, "This land is my homestead, the place of my birth. I have nothing left me now but my land, all my other property has been destroyed, even including my wearing apparel, and I am the husband of a delicate wife and the father of several children." The government retained possession until Strachan proved his title in U.S. District Court. Strachan and his family returned to Point of Rocks in 1866 and he spent the rest of his life here.

Early in 1864, Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, commander of all Federal armies, ordered advances throughout the Confederacy in the spring. On May 5, Union Gen. Benjamin F. Butler landed his Army of the James on Bermuda Hundred to operate against Richmond, Petersburg, and Confederate lines of supply. Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard countered Union advances against the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad, Drewry's Bluff, and Petersburg. In June 1864, he effectively "bottled up" Butler's army behind Confederate and Federal fortifications across the Bermuda Hundred peninsula for the rest of the war.

In June 1864, the first attacks on Petersburg were launched from Point of Rocks over a pontoon bridge across the Appomattox River. On March 27, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, accompanied by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and his wife, Julia Grant, visited the Point of Rocks hospital fewer than three weeks before Lincoln was assassinated.

During the siege of Petersburg, Clara Barton served at the Point of Rocks hospital as the superintendent of nurses. In 1881, she founded the American Red Cross and then served as the director until 1904. She wrote of conditions here, "The mercury above a hundred, the atmosphere and everything about one black with flies, the dust rolling away in clouds as far as the eye can penetrate, the ashy ground covered with scores of hospital tents shielding nearly all conceivable maladies that soldier flesh is heir to, and stretching on beyond the miles of bristling fortifications, entrenchments, and batteries encircling Petersburg—all ready to blaze."
HM NumberHM10PJ
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, September 15th, 2014 at 10:23am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 291302 N 4133173
Decimal Degrees37.32180000, -77.35533333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 19.308', W 77° 21.32'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 19' 18.48" N, 77° 21' 19.20" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)804
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 201 Enon Church Rd, Chester VA 23836, US
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