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Pickadat Corner in Chesterfield County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Swift Creek Battlefield: A Landscape of Change

 
 
Swift Creek Battlefield: A Landscape of Change Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
1. Swift Creek Battlefield: A Landscape of Change Marker
Inscription. The Bermuda Hundred Campaign began on May 5, 1864, when Union General Benjamin Butler and the 33,000-man Army of the James landed at Bermuda Hundred nine miles northeast of here. General Butler's westward advance threatened Drewry's Bluff and Richmond to the north and Petersburg to the south.

"The Confederates came on in splendid style with the peculiar "Rebel Yell" till within forty yards of our line when our crushing volley swept them over the brow of the hill and across the creek....It was a gallant charge and a bloody repulse."
-General Charles A. Heckman

By May 9, 1864, Swift Creek, located just south of here, became the center of operations. Part of Butler's army arrived near Arrowfield Church (north of Swift Creek) and deployed on this ridge astride the railroad and turnpike by afternoon. Confederate infantry, commanded by General Johnson Hagood, blocked Butler's route.

Angered by contradictory orders and the danger to two regiments under his command, Hagood sent in the 21st South Carolina to support the heavily engaged troops north of Swift Creek, near Arrowfield Church. The Confederate advance, known as "Hagood's Charge," collided with Union soldiers of Charles Heckman's Brigade. Heckman's men stood firm and repulsed the South Carolinians, inflicting approximately 140 casualties while suffering
Close up of the Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
2. Close up of the Map
only about 60.

During the night, there were small skirmishes. The next day Confederate scouts were surprised to find that the Union army had withdrawn. The battle, known as "Swift Creek" or "Arrowfield Church," ended in a clear tactical victory for Butler's men. Strategically however, it was a defeat. The Union army's failure to cross Swift Creek temporarily ensured the safety of Petersburg. The action of May 9 was the first and last time that a battle was fought within and around the boundaries of Swift Creek.
 
Location. 37° 17.211′ N, 77° 24.679′ W. Marker is in Pickadat Corner, Virginia, in Chesterfield County. Marker can be reached from Jefferson Davis Highway (U.S. 1 / 301), on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Located in a parking lot to the east side of the highway. Marker is in this post office area: Colonial Heights VA 23834, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Union Army Checked (within shouting distance of this marker); Battle of Swift Creek (approx. 0.2 miles away); "Brave to Madness" (approx. 0.3 miles away); Electric Railway (approx. half a mile away); Redwater Creek Engagement (approx.
Swift Creek Battlefield: A Landscape of Change Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
3. Swift Creek Battlefield: A Landscape of Change Marker
0.7 miles away); Union Army Railroad Raids (approx. 0.7 miles away); Advance on Petersburg (approx. 0.7 miles away); Ellerslie (approx. 1.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Pickadat Corner.
 
More about this marker. A wartime map of the Confederate defenses of Bermuda Hundred appears in the upper left. In the lower left is a photo of Swift Creek today looking south down Jefferson Davis Highway (the wartime Richmond Turnpike). In the upper center is a wartime photo of a Union signal tower erected by Butler's army and a portrait of General Hagood. On the right are three photos showing views of the battlefield in 2005.
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Swift Creek Battlefield image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
4. Swift Creek Battlefield
Looking south from the marker location toward the Swift Creek Bridge.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,263 times since then and 98 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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