Chesterfield County: Point of Rocks

View of sandstone cliffs from Appomattox River (unknown date)
View of sandstone cliffs, Point of Rocks was named for, from Appomattox River (unknown date)

Point of Rocks is a one story, three bay frame house set on a stone foundation. It was named for the nearby 60 foot high sandstone cliffs on the Appomattox River. The house has two large chimneys that serve four fireplaces. Unlike other plantation homes in the area, it does not have a raised basement. It is believed that Woodland Period Native Americans used the land and its heights for camping and observation of the Appomattox River.  In 1642, Abraham Wood established a trading post on the site. Thomas Chamberlayne, Wood’s son-in-law, inherited the property which he later passed to the Stratton and Batte families. John Alexander Strachan, the son of Jane Stratton, built the existing house on the property in 1840.

Prior to occupation by Union troops, the house was the location of a Confederate signal station. In the memoirs of Private B. W. Jones, he says that a small band of Confederates repulsed the Union Army three years before the Siege of Petersburg. Its elevated location provided a logical point for the signal station and tower. The house was listed for its significance as an observation point during the Civil War for Union General Benjamin F. Butler.  It was also used as a hospital and as quarters for the surgeons. General Butler took possession of the house in 1864 after the family abandoned it. He brought 40,000 men up from Yorktown and Gloucester Point to City Point and Bermuda Hundred. He established a field hospital north of the house. It is believed that the men demolished Enon Church to use for materials to build the hospital. Family history accounts say that Butler’s men took personal possessions left in the house and tossed them down the hill toward the river.

After the war ended, the property was used as a freedman’s village. John Strachan petitioned for the return of his land. In 1866 he and his family returned to the property where he spent the rest of his life. His descendants acquired the property in 1938 and still own it today. Although the home is privately owned, some of the land is a part of the Point of Rocks Park. It is a 188 acre park that includes remnants of Union earthworks. Point of Rocks Park is located at 201 Enon Church Rd. Chester, VA 23836. The site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. For more information, please visit the park's website: Point of Rocks Park- Civil War Site or call (804)318-8550.

 

Last updated: September 27, 2016