Historic Point of Rocks

Historic Point of Rocks (HM22EP)

Location: Chester, VA 23836 Chesterfield County
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 19.232', W 77° 20.228'

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The Bermuda Hundred Campaign

Point of Rocks takes its name from a 60-foot high sandstone cliff located here along the Appomattox River. The site was used by Native Americans as a camp and observation point, and was mentioned by Captain John Smith in his notes on Virginia. A trading post was established here in 1642 by Abraham Wood. The land passed through his heirs for 371 years, making Point of Rocks one of the oldest properties in the country continuously owned by one family. At the time of the Civil War, Point of Rocks was owned by Rev. John Alexander Strachan, the founder of Enon Baptist Church and minister to several congregations in the area.

During the Civil War, the area saw fighting on June 28, 1862, when Federal gunboats led by the ironclads USS Galena and USS Monitor fired on the bluffs here during an unsuccessful raid to destroy a railroad bridge upriver.

The Union army occupied Point of Rocks when the Army of the James landed at Bermuda Hundred in May 1864. A hospital was constructed here that grew into one of the largest of the Civil War.
By the end of the war, over 2,500 soldiers were buried in the cemetery that was established here. In 1866 the bodies were removed and placed in City Point National Cemetery in Hopewell. The large outcropping of rock in the southern end of the property was quarried and used
to build the fence around that cemetery.

During the first weeks of the siege of Petersburg, Red Cross founder Clara Barton served at Point of Rocks as superintendent of nurses.

On March 27, 1865, Abraham Lincoln visited the hospital here. This was just days before the fall of Petersburg and Richmond. Lincoln was shot at Ford's Theater 18 days after he visited here.

In 1866 Rev. Strachan petitioned the Freedman's Bureau for the return of his land. After proving his ownership in court Strachan and his family returned to their property in 1866 and he spent the rest of his life here.

In 2013 the descendants of Rev. Strachan sold the property to Chesterfield County. The sale was made possible by a grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the American Battlefield Protection Program administered by the National Park Service. Historic Point of Rocks Park is the culmination of years of work done by a dedicated group of volunteers and the children of Evelyn L. Cox whose wish was to preserve this land and its history for future generations.

A view of Point of Rooks from the Appomattox River in 1864. The rocks were quarried after the war and used to build the wall around City Point National Cemetery.(Library of Congress)

USS Galena (left) and USS Monitor (right).
Both ships took part in a raid on the Appomattox River at Pont of Rocks.(Library of Congress)

This sign was sponsored by the Chesterfield County Sesquicentennial Committee
HM NumberHM22EP
Year Placed2016
Placed ByChesterfield County and the Blue & Gray Education Society
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, October 30th, 2017 at 10:01pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 292911 N 4132992
Decimal Degrees37.32053333, -77.33713333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 19.232', W 77° 20.228'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 19' 13.92" N, 77° 20' 13.68" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)804
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling East
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1017 Point of Rocks Rd, Chester VA 23836, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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