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

Lee’s First Strike

 
 
Lee’s First Strike Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, February 11, 2011
1. Lee’s First Strike Marker
Inscription. 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
Confederate Attack at Beaver Dam Creek image. Click for full size.
2. Confederate Attack at Beaver Dam Creek
1862


 
Erected 2011 by Richmond National Battlefield Park.
 
Location. 37° 35.739′ N, 77° 21.545′ W. Marker is in Mechanicsville, Virginia, in Hanover County. Marker can be reached from Cold Harbor Road (Virginia Route 156). Click for map. This marker is located in the Beaver Dam Creek unit of Richmond National Battlefield Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 7423 Cold Harbor Road, Mechanicsville VA 23111, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Creek Runs Red (here, next to this marker but has been reported missing); Beaver Dam Creek (a few steps from this marker); The Confederates Attack (within shouting distance of this marker but has been reported missing); Historic Cold Harbor Road (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Beaver Dam Creek (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Holding the High Ground (about 300 feet away); Site of Ellerson’s Mill (about 300 feet away); Ellerson's Mill (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Mechanicsville.
 
Also see . . .  The Battle of Beaver Dam Creek, June 26, 1862. Richmond National Battlefield Park (Submitted on February 12, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
Combat at Beaver Dam Creek image. Click for full size.
By Allen Redwood
3. Combat at Beaver Dam Creek
Allen Redwood served in the Confederate army, survived the war, and became a prominent sketch artist. His depiction of the Confederate attack has special authenticity because Beaver Dam Creek was his first experience in battle, and he was wounded here.
 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Beaver Dam Creek Markers image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, February 11, 2011
4. Beaver Dam Creek Markers
Beaver Dam Creek Battlefield image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher
5. Beaver Dam Creek Battlefield
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 821 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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