Harris, Public Information Officer, 804-365-6402
North Anna Battlefield Park Has Doubled In Size
Hanover’s largest self-maintained Civil War battlefield park has doubled in size.
The North Anna Battlefield is located north of Verdon Road in the Doswell area. It was there in May 1864 that historians say Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee missed his last opportunity to inflict a decisive defeat upon the Union army of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.
Grant’s army had broken into three parts and Lee positioned his army behind the steep bank of the North Anna River in such a way that he could throw a large force upon any segment of Grant’s army. However, Lee fell ill and the attack was not made, allowing Grant to abandon his position and march east towards Totopotomoy Creek.
Historian Michael Miller called it “one of the greatest battles never fought” when the property was dedicated to Hanover County by General Crushed Stone in 1992. According to the National Park Service, “Lee had lost his last, and perhaps best, chance of defeating the Union army.”
Trenches and rifle pits from the battle remain and are considered some of the best examples of Civil War earth works in existence. Hanover’s Department of Parks and Recreation maintains the park, which includes a two-mile interpretive trail system. An observation deck allows visitors to witness the vantage point commanded by the Confederates as they faced the Union Army.
The North Anna Battlefield Park consisted of about 75 acres, until now. On Feb. 26, the Board of Supervisors approved a conditional use permit allowing expansion of the rock quarry (now operated by Martin Marietta Materials Inc. and American Aggregates Corporation).
As part of the approval, the owner donated an additional 90 acres to the County, including what is called the “killing fields” where the heaviest fighting took place. There were about 4,000 casualties at North Anna.
The park is open during daylight hours for self-guided tours.
The County will meet with representatives of the Civil War Trust, the Hanover Historical Society and Martin Marietta to develop a park expansion plan to include additional pedestrian trails, signage and overlooks.