Following the Battle of Ware Bottom Church on May 20, 1864, Confederate forces began digging the earthworks that would become known as the Howlett Line. Named after the Howlett house, which stood at the northernmost point, the line stretched across the Bermuda Hundred peninsula from the James River to the Appomattox River. These fortifications effectively "bottled up" the 30,000-man Army of the James led by Gen. Benjamin F. Butler. The Confederates at this location exchanged fire with Union forts Dutton McConihe, Anderson and Pruyn until the position was abandoned after the fall of Petersburg in April 1865. The site was donated as a park by Mr. B. Forace Hill in 1991.
Dantzler's Attack on Fort Dutton
On June 2, 1864, Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard sent troops toward nearby Federal positions to reconnoiter their strength. From near this spot, Col. Olin M. Dantzler led the 22nd South Carolina Regiment in an attempt to capture Fort Dutton. Using the ravine to the south as cover, he moved his men to within 150 yards of the fort. As the Confederates emerged from the ravine, they were met with canister from the guns of the 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery. Col. Dantzler and 16 of his men were killed in the failed assault. General Beauregard ordered the fort on the James River near the Howlett house to be named in Dantzler's honor. That site is preserved today as Battery Dantzler Park.
Located aproximately 4,000 feet northeast of here. Fort Dutton was named after Col. Arthur H. Dutton who was mortally wounded on May 26, 1864 while leading a reconnaissance of the Confederate lines. Dutton died from his wounds on June 5. Fort Dutton stood until the 1990s when it was leveled for home construction.
This sign was sponsored by Boy Scout Troop 877, The Chester Station Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia.
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