Drewry's Bluff

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 :: Drewry's Bluff ::
Information about Drewry's Bluff near Richmond, VA during the Civil War.

Located seven miles below Richmond on the James River, this was a popular spot for Richmonders to visit, as well as the scene of a battle between the defenders on the Bluff, and Union ironclads in the river on May 15, 1862. Two years later, Butler's army was attacked near here - this is known as the Second Battle of Drewry's Bluff. The site is now part of the Richmond National Battlefield Park.


1038 Interior of Fort Drury-Same Gun as shown in No. 1037. William Frank Browne


Ordnance Depot at Drury’s Bluff—Bird’s eye view of a Ship at the dock. This view was taken from the top of the Bluff, eighty feet above the deck.



Same Gun And Sling Cart as shown in No. 1051, showing how the Gun is slung under the cart.



Obstructions in the River below Fort Drury.


View of Confederate Gunboat Drury, blown up and sunk by the 1st Conn. Art. in the James River.



View of Confederate Church at Fort Darling—Graves in the foreground—Entrance to the Fort on the right.

1118 [View of Fort Darling, Drewry's Bluff, James River from above the "masked battery."] "
1119 [View of Fort Darling from above the "masked battery" looking west, Drewry's Bluff, James River.] "
1120 [View of ravine and "masked battery" from Fort Darling, Drewry's Bluff, James River.] "
1123 [View of Ravine on the the south side of the river near Fort Darling, James River.] "


Ordnance Depot at Drury’s Bluff—Bird’s eye view of a Ship at the dock. This view was taken from the top of the Bluff, eighty feet above the deck.

1134 [Chaplain's Quarters, 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery at Fort Darling.] "
1135 [Chapel at Fort Darling, James River, April 1865.] "
1136 [Adjutant's quarters, 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery, Fort Darling.] "
1139 [Gen. Abbot's quarters, 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery, Fort Darling, April 1865.] "
1150 [Sling Cart used in removing captured artillery at Fort Darling.] "


Sling Cart for moving Heavy Cannon.

1152 [Sling Cart used in removing captured artillery at Fort Darling.] "
1155 [Sling Cart used in removing captured artillery at Fort Darling, April 1865.] "
461. Drury's Bluff             Levy & Cohen, photographers
E. & H. T. Anthony:


Interior of the Confederate Fort Darling.


Interior of the Confederate Fort Darling.


The Celebrated Conf. Fort Darling.


Masked Battery and obstructions, James River. 


Masked Battery and obstructions, James River.


Obstructions in James River, Richmond, Va.


Obstructions in James River, Richmond, Va.


Interior of the Confederate Fort Darling.

Written Accounts

Richmond Dispatch

10/30/1860; Curtis Peck (future obstruction at Drewry’s Bluff) makes run from Norfolk to Richmond in 8 1/2 hours

Richmond Dispatch 4/30/1862; paragraph touting CSMC
Richmond Dispatch 4/30/1862; very nice recruiting notice for CSMC
Richmond Dispatch 5/5/1862; a company of 100 sappers and miners is working to "blockade the river James"
Richmond Dispatch

5/14/1862; description of the exchange of 860 prisoners from “Libby’s and other factories;” Lieut. Turner escorts them down and encounters the Monitor, Galena and Steven’s Battery on their way to Richmond. On the way back up, the returned prisoners were taken off the boats, and the boats (Curtis Peck, Northampton and Jamestown) scuttled in the channel to obstruct the river prior to the battle at Drewry’s Bluff

Richmond Dispatch 5/15/1862; “Corinth” volunteers to join 100 other men to storm aboard Union fleet if it reaches Richmond
Richmond Dispatch 5/15/1862; Men wishing to be sharpshooters along river bank to gather at Washington Monument
Richmond Dispatch 5/15/1862; Important dispatch from Drewry’s Bluff - says three guns in the fort and "five in pits" in place on May 14
Charleston Mercury 5/16/1862; description of anticipation in Richmond on the eve of the naval battle of Drewry's Bluff
Richmond Dispatch 5/19/1862; details on the fight at Drewry’s Bluff, including casualties, from a Petersburg paper
Richmond Dispatch 5/19/1862; Letter on Drewry’s Bluff – notes the commanders of the various guns
New York Herald 5/19/1862; wonderful Northern perspective on the naval battle at Drewry's Bluff
Richmond Dispatch 5/20/1862; George W. Alexander carried the dispatches from Drewry’s Bluff to Richmond; Lt. James H. Rochelle manned “gun No. 2” during the fight
New York Evening Post 5/23/1862; incredibly important description of the Battle of Drewry’s Bluff from the commander of the Naugatuck (Stevens’ Battery)
Richmond Dispatch 5/24/1862; important details on companies at Drewry’s Bluff during the fight that did "fatigue duty" and helped clear collapsed casemate, and took casualties while doing so
Richmond Dispatch 5/28/1862; Lt. F. L. Hoge offers rewards for list of deserters. To be brought to Naval Encampment, Fort Randolph, Drewry’s Bluff
Richmond Dispatch 5/30/1862; Mr. J. W. Drewry was conspicuous during the fight at Drewry’s Bluff keeping men cool under fire
Richmond Dispatch 6/11/1862; long descriptive list of CSMC AWOLs
Richmond Dispatch 6/13/1862; one of the sunken boats in the James River at Drewry’s Bluff has been turned around during a recent flood - her wheels begin to turn again
Richmond Dispatch 6/13/1862; accusation that the Secretary of War and Engineering Departments have failed to support the Sapper & Miner Company in their efforts at Drewry’s Bluff
Richmond Dispatch 6/16/1862; Paper backs away from complaints about the lack of support by "high officials" for the engineering efforts at Drewry’s Bluff.
Richmond Dispatch 6/16/1862; Frank Boylan commanding sapper & miners - camped at Drewry's Bluff - all AWOLs report
Richmond Dispatch 7/12/1862; details on funeral of a man who accidentally drowned at Drewry’s Bluff - funeral at Trinity M. E. Church
Richmond Dispatch 7/23/1862; important paragraph on the naming of battlefields - particularly ridicules the use of the term “Fort Darling” for “Drury’s Bluff”
Richmond Whig 8/1/1862; questions why the Yankees refer to Drewry’s Bluff as “Fort Darling” instead of its “proper name” of “Fort Drewry”
Richmond Dispatch 8/2/1862; important article about the name “Fort Darling” and its origins
Richmond Dispatch 9/6/1862; Capt. Tucker’s Co., 2nd North Carolina Battalion, stationed at Belle Isle. Remainder of battn stationed “near Drury’s Bluff.” Commander adv for two deserters.
Richmond Dispatch 10/10/1862; descriptive list of 5 CSMC AWOLs from Drewry’s Bluff
Richmond Dispatch 11/6/1862; Mayor’s Court: Jas. Pearson, of Drewry’s Bluff command, jailed for assault; woman tried for stealing $10 worth of silverware from Spotswood; details on E. Hunter Taliaferro case
Richmond Dispatch 11/8/1862; 7 new prisoners at Castle Thunder, including 2nd SC man from GH#18 for misdemeanor, and a soldier recognized as a crewman of CSS Patrick Henry
Richmond Dispatch 11/12/1862; Saml. J. Harrison can’t use all donated money for Drewry’s Bluff families.
Richmond Dispatch 12/11/1862; A. H. Schultz, daily round trips to Drewry’s Bluff leaves at noon and returns at 3
Richmond Dispatch 12/16/1862; steamer Schultz leaves at noon for Drewry’s, return trip at 2:30 - $1 round trip
William A. Edwards CSR 4/27/1863; important letter complaining over the appointment of chaplain at Drewry’s Bluff chapel
Richmond Dispatch 5/1/1863; great description of Drewry's Bluff - notes that many visitors have visited the bluff
VHS 5/28/1863 5/28/1863; Sidney Smith Lee, commandant at Drewry’s Bluff writes to enquire whether 3 Castle Thunder prisoners who wrote to him might be released and allowed to enlist in the Navy. All three were in prison for desertion.
Richmond Examiner 7/17/1863; no more visitors will be allowed at Drewry's Bluff
Richmond Sentinel 7/29/1863; great physical description of Drewry's Bluff
Richmond Sentinel 8/12/1863; account of a deserter from Drewry's Bluff reporting that the fort garrisons only 90 men
Richmond Dispatch 8/12/1862; Geo. H. Freer at signal station, Drewry’s Bluff
Richmond Sentinel 8/19/1863; officer at Drewry's Bluff is court-martialled for being AWOL, and confined to camp
Richmond Dispatch 8/28/1862; Wm. Hines, arrested near Drewry’s Bluff & sent to Castle Thunder for trading with Yankees
Richmond Dispatch 12/5/1862; steamer Schultz is now making daily trips to Drewry’s Bluff
Richmond Enquirer 10/21/1863; Masonic Lodge has been built at Drewry's Bluff
Richmond Sentinel 10/23/1863; Masonic Lodge has been built at Drewry's Bluff
Richmond Enquirer 5/13/1864; describes Richmond during the Battle of Drewry's Bluff - notes on the admission procedures for the wounded and gives numbers admitted; notes on the hospitals for various states
Richmond Sentinel 5/17/1864; list of 14 officers captured at Drewry's Bluff (including General Heckman) who were brought to Libby yesterday
Richmond Whig 8/12/1864; steamer Allison is making daily trips to and from Drewry's Bluff
Richmond Whig 10/25/1864; steamer Schultz has been rebuilt, and will resume trips to and from Drewry's Bluff

Richmond Sentinel

11/1/1864; praise for the little steamer Parker, which makes excursions to Chaffin's and Drewry's Bluff

Richmond Whig 4/17/1865; steamer runs afoul of one of the sunken vessels at Drewry’s Bluff and sustains damage
R. A. Brock notes 1880; notes on various Richmond sights and their current condition - mentions Libby Prison, Castle Godwin, Castle Thunder (recently destroyed by fire), Robertson Hospital (great physical description), Drewry's Bluff, and the Union Hotel (now used to train missionaries)

Page last updated on 07/17/2008