Battery Dantzler

Battery Dantzler (HMAGT)

Location: Chester, VA 23836 Chesterfield County
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 21.486', W 77° 23.532'

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Dueled with Union Gunboats

In 1862, Confederate authorities considered locating the main defensive James River battery here to block the Union navy's approach to Richmond. They chose Drewry's Bluff instead because they feared that Union forces would bypass this position by cutting a canal through the river bend at Dutch Gap. The landing of Union Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler's Army of the James at Bermuda Hundred in May 1864 prompted the construction of this fortification. It was named Battery Dantzler in honor of Col. Olin Miller Dantzler, 22nd South Carolina Infantry, killed in action nearby. Battery Dantzler anchored the northern end of the Howlett Line of earthworks across the Bermuda Hundred peninsula from the James River south to the Appomattox River.

The fort mounted two 20-pounder Parrott guns, two 7-inch Brooke rifles, two 8-inch smoothbore Columbiads, and two 10-inch coastal mortars. Battery Dantzler dueled daily with Union gunboats and land batteries until April 2, 1865, when its garrison abandoned it to march westward with Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. The march ended a week later at Appomattox Court House.

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The construction of Battery Dantzler began on May 18, 1864. Two 20-pounder Parrott guns captured on May 16 at the Battle of Drewry's Bluff were among the first artillery pieces placed here. Union infantry occupied the battery on June 15, after Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard's forces withdrew from Bermuda Hundred to defend Petersburg against the first Federal threats. The guns here were dismounted and buried, and remained hidden until the Confederates retook the position the following day. Quickly remounted, the guns exchanged fire with Union vessel in Trent's Reach on June 21. The Union ironclad Tecumseh dismounted one 7-inch cannon with its last shot.
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 at 8:41am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 288137 N 4137283
Decimal Degrees37.35810000, -77.39220000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 21.486', W 77° 23.532'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 21' 29.16" N, 77° 23' 31.92" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)804
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1820-1826 Battery Dantzler Ct, Chester VA 23836, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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