On May 6, 1864, in conjunction with the opening of the Overland Campaign Union forces landed at Bermuda Hundred with the intention of cutting the Confederate supply line along the Richmond-Petersburg Railroad at Port Walthall Junction and then moving on to Richmond. As they marched toward Port Walthall, the Federals were confronted by a South Carolina brigade that emerged from a sunken road. The 9th New Jersey attempted a counter-attack and then withdrew. The following day a Tennessee brigade joined the South Carolina, and the Federals once again attacked unsuccessfully, yet they were able to destroy a section of the railway. The Confederates retreated behind Swift Creek, and two days later the Union destroyed more track at Chester Station and engaged the South Carolina once more before returning to Bermuda Hundred and preparing for an advance toward Richmond.

Visiting Port Walthall Junction Battlefield

The Battle of Port Walthall Junction actually occurred in the area of Exit 58 on Interstate 95. Fortunately, the battle is commemorated a few miles east of I-95 at scenic R Garland Dodd Park which was the actual location of the southern end of the Union line during the Bermuda Hundred Campaign. The left of the Union line was anchored on the Appomattox River and its right was anchored near Ware Bottom Church. Union earthworks remain visible throughout the park along the trails. Interpretive signs erected by Virginia Civil War Trails and the Blue & Gray Education Society are located at the entrance of the park by the tennis courts as well as Shelter 2 and Shelter 3. The signs describe the setting of the Bermuda Hundred Campaign and actions at Port Walthall Junction.

r garland dodd park marsh

Union earthworks remain visible throughout the park along the forest trails.

You can download the park layout at Chesterfield County Parks. Trails from both Shelter 2 and Shelter 3 pass by Union earthworks and lead down to the floating boardwalk and bridge across the freshwater tidal marsh of Ashton Creek and to views of the Appomattox River. In all, R Garland Dodd Park has nearly 3 miles of scenic hiking trails through forest and along a floating boardwalk, as well as picnic shelters, playgrounds and restrooms.

r garland dodd floating boardwalk

R Garland Dodd Park features a floating boardwalk and a floating bridge that can be seen in the background that cross Ashton Creek Marsh.

In addition, R Garland Dodd Park is located about 2-1/2 miles south of the site of a later action in the Bermuda Hundred Campaign, the Battle of Ware Bottom Church where there is a splendid hiking trail that follows impressive, well-preserved Confederate fortifications. A descendant of Thomas Jefferson, R. Garland Dodd was a Chesterfield County supervisor and preservationist who helped create nearby Henricus Historical Park, the 'second Jamestown.'

Visit Chesterfield Historical Society for battle details and information about the preservation of this battlefield.

Pictured at the top: The Battle of Port Walthall Junction is commemorated and interpreted at R Garland Dodd Park.