BERMUDA SIGN CAMPAIGN PROJECT
In May 1864, the powerful Union armies began coordinated assaults on Confederate armies across the nation. Naturally, eyes moved toward the soon-to-be titanic struggle between Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and George Gordon Meade’s Army of the Potomac under the direct observation of the Union General in Chief US Grant and the advancement of William T. Sherman’s powerful army group in northern Georgia. Three other operations served the purpose of restricting the Confederate’s interior lines to reinforce the most threatening forces. One could have and should have ended the war.
Benjamin Butler had returned to Virginia and was now in charge of the modest size Army of the James. Manned by two corps, Butler was instructed to move up the James River to capture the key Confederate transportation center at Petersburg or even the capital city of Richmond. Opposed by a scratch force of clerks, invalids, and a minimal amount of infantry, the operation should have compelled Lee to turn his back on Meade and flee to Richmond to protect that invaluable city and its equally invaluable supply lines. Not unexpectedly, Butler failed miserably, and the Bermuda Hundred Campaign has become emblematic of Butler’s military ineptitude.
With so many sites surrounding Richmond, history has bypassed Chesterfield County and yet the county has a rich series of sites that were key in the campaign and which have been preserved. A recent BGES tour revealed in the true wealth and potential of these now preserved sites. Chesterfield County has made a commitment to fairly and fully interpret the Bermuda Hundred Campaign and has put into place and continues to acquire battlefield land related to this campaign.
The BGES in partnership with the county is proud to announce that we have completed the fundraising and are installing interpretative markers. We are also assisting in the reprint costs of the campaign tour guide. This project is the largest we have completed in 12 years!