The fight at Totopotomoy Creek in late May of 1864 marks the “boundary” in the Overland Campaign between the North Anna phase of the campaign and the Cold Harbor phase. During the three-day engagement, Federals lost just over one thousand men as casualties; Confederates lost just under a thousand. The casualties would pale in comparison to the major assaults that would come just a few days later just a few miles to the southeast.
Today, one can visit part of the site where the battle took place, which has been administered by Richmond National Battlefield since 2006. The NPS manages 124 acres of the property’s original 1,000—from the Shelton House (the site where, in 1754, Patrick Henry married his wife Sarah Shelton) down to the banks of the Totopotomoy. A two-mile walking trail covers the ground, which passes through several sets of Union earthworks, past the family cemetery, and down to the low, swampy bottomlands of the creek itself. A long walking bridge crosses the lowlands and connects with a trail that takes visitors up to the Confederate earthworks along the crest of the steep south bank.
The Shelton house (“Rural Plains”) is open seasonally. A pair of cannon site in the side yard near a historical marker that explains the many layers of history associated with the site, from the Indian chief Totopotomoi to Patrick Henry to the Civil War.
Totopotomy Creek Battlefield at Rural Plains
7273 Studley Road
Mechanicsville, VA 23116