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Colonial Heights, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Dunlop Station

"...burning cartridges like shooting stars”

 
 
Dunlop Station Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
1. Dunlop Station Marker
Inscription. Dunlop Station on the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad was located here on the southern boundary of David Dunlop's Ellerslie estate. During the siege of Petersburg, June 1864-April 1865, a military rail spur was completed in March 1865 that extended southwest from here to a Confederate quartermaster depot at Ettrick, making this an important railroad junction. It enabled trains to avoid Federal shelling of the main rail line from Dunlop Station to Petersburg, two miles south. Passenger trains stopped here so the occupants could walk to Petersburg on the safer Richmond Turnpike, located several hundred yards west, but some travelers walked along the tracks regardless. On June 30, 1864, Confederate President Jefferson Davis disembarked here and then proceeded to Gen. Robert E. Lee's headquarters at Violet Bank, two miles south.

On April 2, 1865, after the Battle of Five Forks, the Confederates moved ammunition here as they prepared to evacuate Petersburg, then destroyed the stockpile as well as surplus food and clothing. A Confederate soldier wrote that "the great sheds and long trains of cars" burned in the dark night, eerily illuminated by the distant glow of fires in Richmond. Despite warnings from Confederate officers, civilian refugees from Petersburg climbed into the burning cars to scavenge for food and clothing. "As we left,"
Dunlop Station Markers Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
2. Dunlop Station Markers
on soldier wrote, "the cars of ammunition began to explode, and we could see women and children blow about in every direction. ... The air was filled with burning cartridges like shooting stars."

Life went on even as the Confederacy expired. Despite the evacuation crisis, Lee permitted his adjutant, Col. Walter Taylor, to board the last ambulance train to Richmond here so that Taylor could marry his long-time sweetheart, Bettie Saunders. Taylor rejoined Lee before the surrender at Appomattox Court House.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 37° 16.096′ N, 77° 24.314′ W. Marker is in Colonial Heights, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of Old Town Drive and East Ellerslie Drive, on the right when traveling south on Old Town Drive. Click for map. Located at St. Michaelís Church. Marker is at or near this postal address: 501 Old Town Drive, 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. Dunlop's Station (a few steps from this marker); Ellerslie (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Ellerslie
Bridge on the Appotomax Photo, Click for full size
By Alfred R. Waud, April 1865
3. Bridge on the Appotomax
Train of cars and workshops burned by the rebels on evacuating Petersburg Library of Congress [LC-DIG-ppmsca-21361]
(approx. 0.2 miles away); Electric Railway (approx. 0.8 miles away); "Brave to Madness" (approx. 1.1 miles away); Battle of Swift Creek (approx. 1.1 miles away); Union Army Checked (approx. 1.3 miles away); Swift Creek Battlefield: A Landscape of Change (approx. 1.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Colonial Heights.
 
More about this marker. In the lower left is a drawing of a destroyed railroad station. Combat artist Alfred R. Waud drew this picture of the burned workshop of the Southside Railroad on the Appomattox River in April 1865. The destruction at Dunlop Station would have been similar in scope.

On the right is a wartime photo captioned, Gen. G.W.C. Lee, Gen. Robert E. Lee, and Col. Walter Taylor pose in Richmond in April 1865, after the surrender at Appomattox Court House.
 
Also see . . .  Brief History of Ellerslie. The area around the station saw much activity during the later phases of the Civil War. (Submitted on December 24, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. Railroads & StreetcarsWar, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,719 times since then and 85 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   3. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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