Established when Virginia was still a British colony, Mangohick Church lay in the middle of the Army of the Potomac’s line of march to the Pamunkey River. As the Federals began their trek, Lieut. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Maj. Gen. George G. Meade rode together amongst the tramping men. Horace Porter, a member of Grant’s staff and a prolific writer recalled “on the march the general-in-chief, as he rode by, was vociferously cheered, as usual, by the troops. Every movement directed by him inspired the men with new confidence in his ability…the soldiers by this time were getting on intimate terms with their commander-in fact becoming quite chummy”.
Another officer, Theodore Lyman, serving on Meade’s staff, did not describe the march in such a way as had Porter. “At Chesterfield Station…we got ahead of the infantry and kept on the way, sending some cavalry ahead in case of wandering Rebels. The road was strown with dead horses, worn out and shot by the cavalry…whenever I may see civilized parts again, it will seem strange to see no deceased charges by the roadside. We made a halt to let the column get up, at a poor house by the way. There were a lot of little children who were crying…they said they had been stripped of nearly everything by the cavalry and expected to starve. [Meade] gave them his lunch and five dollars…we kept on through a very poor and sandy country…about one o’clock, having ridden some twenty two miles in all, we stopped at a house of one Thompson, and, that afternoon, camped near by, just close to Mangohick Church”.