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On May 20, 1864, approximately 10,000 soldiers met at Ware Bottom Church. As the fighting occurred, Confederate forces were able to gain ground that allowed them to effectively establish the Howlett Line, which pinned Union forces on the Bermuda Hundred peninsula and allowing Confederat General P.G.T. Beauregard to send more men to reinforce Robert E. Lee's forces at Cold Harbor. In the end the battle proved to be be a Confederate victory that left over 1,400 men either dead or wounded.


  • Ware Bottom Church Battlefield Park
  • Ware Bottom Church Marker
  • 1864 photograph of the Confederate trenches
  • A map depicting the movements during the battle
  • A rendition of what the Ware Bottom church may have looked like around 1860

After severe fighting at Proctor's Creek blunted the Union offensive against Richmond, Maj. Days after the battling at Proctor's Creek that stopped the Union march on Richmond, Federalist Major-General Benjamin Butler chose to have his men withdraw to the Bermuda Hundred peninsula. Because of this, Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard deployed eight Confederate brigades in an attempt to box Butler on the Bermuda Hundred Peninsula and overtake Butler's Bermuda Hundred line.

As a result of the Battle of Ware Bottom Church, over 1,400 people were either killed or wounded. As the Confederates were able to gain ground and drive back the Union soldiers, Beauregard was also able to establish the Hewitt Line. This fortified defensive line, located between the James and Appomatox Rivers, "bottled in" the Union forces as President Lincoln noted. However, Ulysses S. Grant would later cause Beauregard to leave abandon this line in an attempt to stop Grant's march on Petersburg, which once again put Ware Bottom Church under Union control until Lee retook it in mid-June and the church was destroyed by a fire started by Confederate artillery soldiers in order to drive out Union sharpshooters that had been using the church.

Ware bottom Church had been at the time one of Virginia's oldest churches until its destruction. 

Hampton, Jeff. "Long-forgotten Civil War letter recalls bloody ordeal." The Virginia Pilot, January 20, 2015. http://pilotonline.com/news/long-forgotten-civil-war-letter-recalls-bloody-ordeal/article_02c56435-720e-5234-8f45-6b00f7ebcb5e.html