Colonial Heights, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
In 1864, Ellerslie stood in the middle of the Confederate defense line along Swift Creek. On May 9-10, Confederate Gens. Johnson Hagood and Bushrod Johnson, with 4,200 men, contested the advance of a much larger Federal force, composed of elements of Gen. Benjamin F Butler’s Army of the James. During the fighting on May 9, a Confederate battery near the house dueled with Federal gunners across the creek at Arrowfield Farm. A cannonball struck the house’s wall and remained embedded until 1910.
At noon on May 9, the 63rd Tennessee Infantry occupied hastily dug rifle pits here as part of the Confederate reserve. When Union skirmishers advanced to a fence line about 600 yards from Ellerslie, two Tennessee companies pushed them back. During the night, the Confederates drove a Federal gun from the bank of Swift Creek. The Federals retreated to their camps at Point of Rocks the next morning.
Federal operations then shifted toward Richmond and culminated in the Battle of Drewry’s Bluff on May 16. Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard established his headquarters here and kept them intermittently through June. On September 2, Hagood’s South
On the night of April 2, 1865, fires and explosions illuminated Ellerslie as commissary supplies and munitions were burned at Dunlop’s Station near here on the Richmond & Petersburg Railroad. Several civilians were killed.
Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard was born on Contreras Plantation near New Orleans to a Creole family on May 28, 1818. He graduated from the U.S. Military Acadamy at West Point in 1838 and was wounded in the Mexican War. He was superintendent at West Point in 1861 and resigned his commission to join the Confederacy. He gave the command to fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston, S.C.—the first shot of the war. He became a Southern hero for the Confederate victory in the First Battle of Manassas. In Charleston in 1864, he authorized CSA H.L. Hunley to make the first attack by a submarine. He defeated Union Gen. Benjamin F. Butler in the Bermuda Hundred Campaign in Virginia in 1864. Beauregard defended Petersburg with 2,000 men against 16,000 Federals until Gen. Robert E. Lee arrived with the Army of Northern Virginia. After the war, Beauregard returned to New Orleans, assisted freed slaves, and declined offers to command foreign armies. He served as a railroad president and in Louisiana government posts. He died in New Orleans
Robert Young, a Belfast architect, designed Ellerslie in 1856 as a castellated mansion for tobacco magnate David Dunlop. Dunlop’s grandson engaged the Richmond architectural firm of Carneal and Johnston in 1910 to remodel it in the Bungaloid mode, retaining the house’s mass and tower but replacing the original flat roof with a hipped roof and dormers.
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical date for this entry is April 2, 2006.
Location. 37° 16.226′ N, 77° 24.242′ W. Marker is in Colonial Heights, Virginia. Marker is on Longhorn Drive, 0.1 miles north of Ellerslie Avenue, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3230 Longhorn Dr, Colonial Heights VA 23834, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Ellerslie (here, next to this marker); Dunlop's Station (approx. 0.2 miles away); Dunlop Station (approx. 0.2 miles away); Electric Railway (approx. ¾ mile away); "Brave to Madness" (approx. one mile away); Battle of Swift CreekUnion Army Checked (approx. 1.2 miles away); Swift Creek Battlefield: A Landscape of Change (approx. 1.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Colonial Heights.
Also see . . . Ellerslie. National Register of Historic Places (Submitted on October 17, 2011.)
Credits. This page was last revised on November 5, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 17, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,898 times since then and 143 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 17, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. 6. submitted on September 11, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.