Lee's First Strike

Lee's First Strike (HMQXD)

Location: Mechanicsville, VA 23111 Hanover County
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 35.739', W 77° 21.545'

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The Confederate plan did not call for an attack against the Union position along Beaver Dam Creek. Instead, a series of manuevers would make the Union defenses here untenable. But poor communication and unexpected obstacles caused delays. Lee felt vulnerable. A large portion of his army lay isolated on the other side of the Chickahominy. He decided to test the Union defenses here while his primary plan unfolded.

Southern infantrymen suddenly found themselves advancing from the village of Mechanicsville across nearly one mile of shell-swept ground behind you. Most of the regiments had seen little if any combat. Their inexperience quickly became apparent. Some units advanced too far. Others stubbornly held their ground along the creek bottom, long after they should have fallen back. None advanced beyond the creek. The first battle of the most critical campaign in the Confederacy's short history ended disastrously.

"As you near Beaver Dam, you descend to a road which turns abruptly to the right and left, and runs along the edge of the bluff [now the park's entrance road]?.In front of the road all the trees and bushes have been cut away and felled?.Beyond this abattis was an open swamp, eighty or a hundred yards wide, in which man or beasts mire to the waist." Confederate newspaper correspondent, July 1862

Year Placed2011
Placed ByRichmond National Battlefield Park
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 at 10:10pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 291731 N 4163569
Decimal Degrees37.59565000, -77.35908333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 35.739', W 77° 21.545'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 35' 44.34" N, 77° 21' 32.70" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)804
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 7423 Cold Harbor Rd, Mechanicsville VA 23111, US
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