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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Chester in Chesterfield County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Battery Dantzler

Dueled with Union Gunboats

 
 
Battery Dantzler CWT Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, February 9, 2009
1. Battery Dantzler CWT Marker
Inscription. 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.

(right sidebar)
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.
Battery Dantzler Markers image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, February 9, 2009
2. Battery Dantzler Markers
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.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 37° 21.486′ N, 77° 23.532′ W. Marker is near Chester, Virginia, in Chesterfield County. Marker is on Battery Dantzler Road 0.2 miles east of Old Stage Road, on the left when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Chester VA 23836, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Olin Miller Dantzler (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Battery Dantzler (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Battle of Trent’s Reach (about 500 feet away); Dutch Gap Conservation Area
Battery Dantzler Gun Platform image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, February 9, 2009
3. Battery Dantzler Gun Platform
(approx. 0.3 miles away); The Siege of Petersburg (approx. 0.3 miles away); a different marker also named Battery Dantzler (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Howlett Line (approx. 0.4 miles away); Parker’s Battery (approx. 0.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Chester.
 
More about this marker. On the lower left is a photo of "Col. Olin Miller Dantzler - Courtesy Calhoun County Museum and Cultural Center St. Mathews, S.C."

On the upper center is a sketch of "Battery Dantzler in action. Harper’s Weekly illustration – Library of Congress."

On the lower center is a map showing Battery Dantzler's position at the north end of the Howlett Line.

On the lower right is a photo of "Battery Dantzler - Courtesy Library of Congress."
 
Also see . . .  Civil War Traveler. Chesterfield County (Submitted on February 12, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. About the area
Back in 1981, my company asked me to find land for a new facility to replace out old plant in Hopewell,VA.
Trent's Reach on the James River (old channel). image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, February 9, 2009
4. Trent's Reach on the James River (old channel).
After much deliberation, my company settled on the 10 acre plot adjacent to the Fort. My first knowledge of the existence was after a visit by 'George' from the Historical Society. He was excited to find someone to talk to about the Fort. However, after I told him I was Yankee, his optimism dwindled. But I was interested in history and convinced my company to give up an acre or two for historical purposes. And my sons and I had a great time hunting for artifacts.
    — Submitted May 30, 2011, by Peter Kolarik of Gallup, New Mexico.

 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Dutch Gap Canal, James River, Virginia. Confederate battery image. Click for full size.
1865
5. Dutch Gap Canal, James River, Virginia. Confederate battery
Library of Congress [LC-B811- 15]
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,975 times since then and 187 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   3, 4. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   5. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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