USCTs At Dutch Gap

USCTs At Dutch Gap (HM1940)

Location: Richmond, VA 23231
Buy Virginia State flags at!
Country: United States of America
Buy United States of America flags at!

N 37° 22.604', W 77° 21.616'

  • 0 check ins
  • 0 favorites

U.S. Colored Troops Construct the Canal

— Bermuda Hundred —

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. PG.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 August 1864, Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, commander of the Army of the James, ordered that a ditch or canal be dug across the narrow neck of land here to enable Union gunboats to evade Confederate batteries on the James River. Under brutal conditions and occasional Confederate sniper and artillery fire, Union soldiers—mostly United States Colored Troops—completed the canal on December 31, 1864, except for a slender piece of land or bulkhead between the ditch and the river. On January 1, 1865, 12,000 pounds of powder were exploded to demolish the bulkhead. The blast, however, sent much of the earth into the canal and collapsed part of its walls. The canal was not completed until April, too late to achieve Butler's objective.

Butler commanded more African American soldiers than any other general and advocated their use in combat, not merely as workmen and guards. In May 1864, his USCT regiments had seized strategic points on the James River at Wilson's Wharf, Fort Powhatan, and City Point. USCTs were among the troops assaulting the Petersburg defenses on June 9 and June 15, and took part in the Battle of the Crater on July 20. On September 29, two USCT brigades spearheaded a successful attack at New Market Heights and took part in the assault on Fort Harrison on the north side of the James River. Fourteen black soldiers and two white officers were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions there. USCT regiments were among the first to enter Richmond on April 3, 1865.

Lt. Walter Thorn, Co. G, 116th USCT, received the Medal of Honor for his actions here on January 1, 1865, when the bulk-head was blown up. Learning that the picket guard had not been withdrawn, he mounted the bulkhead and at great personal peril warned the guard of danger. The medal was awarded on December 8, 1898. (caption) The Army version of the Medal of Honor
HM NumberHM1940
Series This marker is part of the Medal of Honor Recipients series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 at 11:36am PDT -07:00
Sorry, but we don't have a picture of this historical marker yet. If you have a picture, please share it with us. It's simple to do. 1) Become a member. 2) Adopt this historical marker listing. 3) Upload the picture.
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 291017 N 4139279
Decimal Degrees37.37673333, -77.36026667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 22.604', W 77° 21.616'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 22' 36.24" N, 77° 21' 36.96" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)804
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 111 Henricus Park Rd, Richmond VA 23231, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

Is this marker missing? Are the coordinates wrong? Do you have additional information that you would like to share with us? If so, check in.

Nearby Markersshow on map
Check Ins  check in   |    all

Have you seen this marker? If so, check in and tell us about it.

Comments 0 comments

Maintenance Issues
  1. What historical period does the marker represent?
  2. What historical place does the marker represent?
  3. What type of marker is it?
  4. What class is the marker?
  5. What style is the marker?
  6. Does the marker have a number?
  7. What year was the marker erected?
  8. This marker needs at least one picture.
  9. Can this marker be seen from the road?
  10. Is the marker in the median?