Confederate Colonel Ambrose Wright and the 3rd Georgia Regiment
Featured Characters – 1861-1862
On April 19, 1862, Union Brigadier General Jesse Lee Reno led troops including the 21st Massachusetts and the 51st Pennsylvania in their march to South Mills in an attempt to destroy the Dismal Swamp Canal locks. Union troops feared the Confederacy would use the locks to transport vessels through the canal to Norfolk, Virginia; therefore, their destruction would have undermined the Confederacy’s plan. Union General Jesse Reno ordered Colonel Rush Hawkins with the 9th New York Regiment Zouaves to gain control of the road to the canal, but Colonel Hawkins erroneously took the wrong road. This mistake would affect the outcome of the battle. Confederate Colonel Ambrose Wright and the 3rd Georgia Regiment delayed the Union advance forcing Reno to abandon the expedition and leave for New Bern. However, since Norfolk was occupied by the Union, the northern end of the Dismal Swamp Canal was already under Union control.