Battle of Fort Drewry
(or Fort Darling)
Return to

Location: Drewry's Bluff
               (near Richmond, VA)
Dates: May 15, 1862
Union Commander:  John Rodgers, Commander
Confederate Commander:  William Mahone, Brigadier General
                                         and S.S. Lee, Captain

Battle Summary:
Drewry's Bluff was a significant component of the defenses of Richmond.  Overlooking the James River, Fort Drewry commanded the approaches to Richmond, from the Potomac River.  Built 100 feet above the river, the fort also was in a strategic position to protect from attack on the Bermuda 100..

After the Confederate Navy scuttled the "iron-clad" Virginia to avoid her capture, the James River opened to Union gun boats to Richmond.  Additionally, the Army of the Potomac, under Major General George B. McClellan, had started his Peninsula Campaign to march "..onto Richmond."

On May 15, the Union boats Monitor and Galena, sailed up the James River to determine what level of defenses were around Richmond.  Besides submerged obstacles, the Monitor, and Galena were easy targets for well placed artillery from Fort Drewry.  Both boats were turned back without reaching Drewry's Bluff.

Campaign: Peninsula

Outcome: Confederate Victory

Troop Strengths
Union: 2 Gun Boats
Confederate: Gun Boats and battery garrison at Ft Drewry

Casualties (estimated):
Union: 41 (killed, wounded or missing/captured)
Confederate: 15 (killed, wounded or missing/captured)

Battle Aftermath:
While the Battle for Fort Drewry was not a significant engagement, with regards to troop casualties, it was an important strategic victory for the Confederacy.  After this naval battle, Union gunboats would not threaten Richmond until the spring of 1865.  Additionally, the Union's Army of the James, commanded by Benjamin Butler, would be stalled at the approaches to Fort Drewry, in May 1864, when he was directed to cooperate with Grant's Army of the Potomac, by maneuvering around to the rear of Lee's Army.  Butler would be bottled up for several months before retreating. 
 Close Window