Mechanicsville in Hanover County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Keitt’s Attack — Morning, June 1, 1864
Colonel Laurence M. Keitt, a signer of the South Carolina Ordinance of Secession, played a critical role in the attack. His regiment, the 20th South Carolina Infantry, had joined Lee’s army just the previous day and was placed in Col. John W. Henagan’s Brigade. Though inexperienced at handling troops in the ﬁeld, Keitt outranked Henagan and assumed command of the brigade. Leading the attack on June 1, Keitt moved his men from right to left across this ground, toward the dismounted Union troopers, many of whom were armed with repeating carbines and ﬁghting behind breastworks. Captain Theophilus F. Rodenbough of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry noted, “the whole thing was over in less than ﬁve minutes.” The attack failed miserably, with Keitt mortally wounded. Federal infantry soon arrived to relieve the cavalrymen. The next move was up to Grant.
“Every man in ranks knew that he was being led by one of the most gifted and gallant men in the South, but every old soldier felt and saw at a glance his inexperience and want of self-control. ”
Captain D. Augustus
The Old Cold Harbor crossroads, objective of Keitt’s attack on the morning of June 1, received its name from the tavern that sat at the southeastern corner of the intersection. This sketch by combat artist Edwin Forbes shows the Old Cold Harbor Tavern ﬂying a Union 2nd Corps ﬂag just two days after Keitt’s failed offensive.
Colonel Laurence M. Keitt, Photo courtesy: Museum of the Confederacy
Erected 2015 by Richmond National Battlefield Park.
Location. 37° 35.829′ N, 77° 16.746′ W. Marker is in Mechanicsville, Virginia, in Hanover County. Marker can be reached from Beulah Church Road (Virginia Route 633) 0.2 miles south of Glenharbor Lane, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Mechanicsville VA 23111, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Armies Gather at Cold Harbor (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Cold Harbor: The Early Actions (about 800 feet away); June 3, 1864 — 18th Corps: A Disastrous Attack (approx. 0.2 miles away); Union Earthworks (approx. In Reserve (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Cold Harbor Killing Fields (approx. half a mile away); Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (approx. half a mile away); A Bloody Baptism of Fire (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mechanicsville.
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 22, 2015, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 161 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on November 22, 2015, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.