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

Holding the High Ground

 
 
Holding the High Ground Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, October 18, 2010
1. Holding the High Ground Marker
Inscription. Today’s landscape makes it difficult to appreciate the many strengths of the Union position. The charging Confederates faced more obstacles than they could overcome: open fields, steep slopes, a broad and swampy creek, Union infantry using a millrace for protection, and powerfully positioned Union artillery crowning the ridge. These circumstances help explain how the Confederates lost 1,500 men here, the Federals only 350.

Despite the decisive victory here, army commander George B. McClellan decided to withdraw this exposed portion of his force on the night of June 26. Stonewall Jackson’s Confederates stood poised to threaten the rear of this Beaver Dam Creek position. The first phase of the Confederate plan to drive the Union army away from Richmond by manueuver had succeeded, but only after a battlefield defeat.

“We were deployed at intervals of eight or ten paces, along the [mill]race….A brigade of rebels in close column charged madly down the opposite hillside….Rushing unhesitatingly across the narrow valley that intervened…they were about to ascend our hill, when one of our regiments…which lay concealed in a position near the base, arose and poured such a murderous volley into the rebel ranks that they broke and fled in dismay.”
A. F. Hill, 8th Pennsylvania Reserves
 
Erected
Battle of Beaver Dam Creek image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, October 18, 2010
2. Battle of Beaver Dam Creek
2010 by Richmond National Battlefield Park.
 
Location. 37° 35.712′ N, 77° 21.487′ W. Marker is in Mechanicsville, Virginia, in Hanover County. Marker can be reached from Cold Harbor Road (Virginia Route 156). Touch for map. This marker is located in the Beaver Dam Creek unit of the 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. Site of Ellerson’s Mill (here, next to this marker); Historic Cold Harbor Road (within shouting distance of this marker); The Confederates Attack (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line but has been reported missing); Lee’s First Strike (about 300 feet away); The Creek Runs Red (about 300 feet away but has been reported missing); Beaver Dam Creek (about 300 feet away); a different marker also named Beaver Dam Creek (about 600 feet away); Ellerson's Mill (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mechanicsville.
 
More about this marker. The backgound photograph of Ellerson's Mill carries the caption, "Dr. John Ellerson’s gristmill served the community before and after the war. It stood as the most noticeable landmark along the Union line. Although the building
Cold Harbor Road trace image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, October 18, 2010
3. Cold Harbor Road trace
is gone, the millrace (visible to the left of the mill) still exists in the woods."
 
Also see . . .
1. The Battle of Beaver Dam Creek, June 26, 1862. Richmond National Battlefield Park. (Submitted on October 18, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 

2. Old Marker at this Location. This marker replaced an older one at this location titled “The Pennsylvanians Stand Firm” (Submitted on October 19, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Site of Ellerson's Mill image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, October 18, 2010
4. Site of Ellerson's Mill
Facing the Union position across Beaver Dam Creek. image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, October 18, 2010
5. Facing the Union position across Beaver Dam Creek.
Mechanicsville, Va. Ellerson's mill image. Click for full size.
By John Reekie, circa Apr 1865
6. Mechanicsville, Va. Ellerson's mill
Library of Congress [LC-B815-920]
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 18, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 712 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 18, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   4. submitted on October 19, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   5, 6. submitted on October 18, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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