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

Dutch Gap Canal

Butler's Bypass

 

óBermuda Hundred Campaign ó

 
Dutch Gap Canal Civil War Trails Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, February 9, 2009
1. Dutch Gap Canal Civil War Trails Marker
Inscription. With the opposing armies locked in a protracted struggle around Petersburg and Bermuda Hundred, the James and Appomattox Rivers assumed added importance.

In August 1864, Union Gen. Benjamin Butler began excavations at Dutch Gap. When completed, his canal would bypass nearly five miles of the James River. Several powerful Confederate artillery batteries menaced that stretch of water. The Dutch Gap Canal would neutralize them.

Although the project neared completion in late 1864, Butlerís engineers never succeeded in opening the canal for warships. The Dutch Gap shortcut only came into use after the Civil War. It is now the primary James River channel.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 37° 22.592′ N, 77° 21.617′ W. Marker is near Chester, Virginia, in Chesterfield County. Marker can be reached from Henricus Park Road 1.3 miles east of Coxendale Road (County Route 615). Click for map. The marker is located in Henricus Historical Park. It is situated on a bluff overlooking the James River. There is a short 300 yard walking trail from the parking lot to the bluff. Marker is
James River Defenses near Dutch Gap image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, February 9, 2009
2. James River Defenses near Dutch Gap
at or near this postal address: 251 Henricus Park Road, Chester VA 23836, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. USCTs At Dutch Gap (here, next to this marker); The Bermuda Hundred Campaign (here, next to this marker); The James River...Floating Through The Centuries (a few steps from this marker); Dutch Gap (a few steps from this marker); The Tides (within shouting distance of this marker); Mount Malady (within shouting distance of this marker); The Lightkeeperís House (within shouting distance of this marker); Henricopolis (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Chester.
 
More about this marker. In the center is a photo of “Union soldiers at work on the canal in 1864.”

On the right is a map detailing the river defenses at Dutch Gap. The smaller inset map shows the position of Dutch Gap relative to the modern interstate highways, I-95 and I-295. The map carries the caption, “The two loops of the James River appear tantalizingly close together on a map, but building the canal to unite them proved too difficult a task for General Butlerís army.”
 
Also see . . .
1. Henricus Historical Park
Location of Dutch Gap Canal image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, February 9, 2009
3. Location of Dutch Gap Canal
. (Submitted on February 11, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
2. Civil War Traveler. Chesterfield County (Submitted on February 12, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US CivilWaterways & Vessels
 
Dutch Gap Canal CWT Marker looking upriver image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, February 9, 2009
4. Dutch Gap Canal CWT Marker looking upriver
Dutch Gap Canal CWT Marker looking downriver towards the Varina-Enon bridge. image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, February 9, 2009
5. Dutch Gap Canal CWT Marker looking downriver towards the Varina-Enon bridge.
Butler's Dutch Gap Canal image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, February 9, 2009
6. Butler's Dutch Gap Canal
Dutch Gap Canal Panorama image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, February 9, 2009
7. Dutch Gap Canal Panorama
Dutch Gap, James River, Virginia, March 1865 (Plate 87) image. Click for full size.
By Alexander Gardner, March 1865
8. Dutch Gap, James River, Virginia, March 1865 (Plate 87)
In 1866,Alexander Gardner, a photographer who had been in Matthew Brady's employ, published his Photographic Sketchbook of the War, the first published collection of Civil War photographs, of which this plate was one. Gardner's accompanying text makes clear the achievement that the canal represented and the difficult conditions under which it was built: "...The work of excavation commenced on the 9th of August, 1864. The rebels opened their formidable batteries on the laborers, on the 13th, and with few intervals maintained a fire from mortars and rifled guns until the conclusion of the enterprise. The regiments employed on the work were the 116th and 169th New York volunteers, and the 4th, 6th, 10th, 36th, 38th, and 100th United States colored regiments....The labors of these troops averaged one hundred and twenty men for a period of ten hours each day, working eighteen days in August, twenty-five days in September, and twenty-six in October. From the first of November until the time of completion, the average consisted of one hundred and thirty men, working eleven and a half hours each day...."
Dutch Gap Picket Post Exhibit image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, June 27, 2013
9. Dutch Gap Picket Post Exhibit
Dutch Gap 1864 Mortar Position image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, June 27, 2013
10. Dutch Gap 1864 Mortar Position
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 3,359 times since then and 141 times this year. Last updated on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   8. submitted on .   9, 10. 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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