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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Along the North Anna River - Then and Now

     See revised thoughts on this image in my May 25, 2016 post.

     The 20th Annual Meeting of the Civil War Fortification Study Group provided a rare opportunity for members to visit the site of one of the Civil War's rare images of entrenched soldiers during an active campaign. This was originally a Confederate fortification, known as Henagan's Redoubt, which served as a means of protecting the north shore approach to the North Anna River at the Chesterfield Bridge crossing of the Telegraph Road. This vital position was captured by Hancock's Union forces on the evening of May 23rd, 1864. The photograph below was taken by Timothy O'Sullivan on May 25th, as the armies glowered at each other. By this time the works were occupied by men of Burnside's Ninth Corps. The next day the Union army, having tired of what was essentially another stalemate similar to their experiences of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania, pull out and swing to the left in their continuous effort to get closer to Richmond. The fields around Cold Harbor awaited them.

Union forces occupy Henagan's Redoubt overlooking the North Anna River.

March 10, 2012, the silent position is now overgrown.
A member of the C.W.F.S.G. stands at right of center to provide scale.  
NOTICE: This is private property, DO NOT TRESPASS.


Will Hickox said...

Do you happen to know which 9th Corps regiments held the works when these photos were taken?

Andy said...

Thanks for posting the modern day picture of North Anna. While Frassanito in his Grant and Lee book claims that the soldiers in the 1864 picture of the 9th corps I think this up for debate and more research.There is strong evidence that the soldiers pictured in the me image you show are actually from the 7th NY Heavy Artillery, part of Tyler's 4th Div of the 2nd Corps. Robert Keating in his book Carnival of Blood which about the 7th NY Heavy Artillery cites a letter from a member of the 1st NY Light artillery that describes O'Sullivan taking the pictures. Based on this and other descriptions of the actions and position of troops on May 25th, 1864 I am more likely to believe that the men in the picture are actually part of the 2nd Corps. Great Blog.

John Cummings said...

If indeed this was taken on the 25th, both Mike Miller and Gordon Rhea's volumes on the subject indicate that the north side of the river around this set of works was occupied by Willcox's 3rd Division of the 9th Corps, while the 2nd Corps had moved entirely to the south side. The information from Albert Ames of the 1st NY Light Artillery is curious, and might suggest the photograph was taken just prior to the shift, or the date in the letter was incorrect.