On May 29, 1864, after falling back from the North Anna River, Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia sought a new line of defense between Richmond and Lieut. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s pursuing Union forces. Lee took up a position on the south bank of Totopotomoy Creek, just 12 miles from the Confederate capital. After cavalry skirmishes along the Pamunkey River on May 28, Grant’s infantry followed and faced Lee on May 29. The next day, the II Corps division of Brig. Gen. Francis Barlow forced a crossing near the Rural Plains estate, capturing the first line of Confederate trenches but was stopped at the main defensive line. The V Corps on the Union left attempted a turning movement near Bethesda Church, but was repulsed. Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside’s IX Corps supported the center along the Shady Grove Road, but no major breakthroughs were achieved there. On May 31, both sides pulled back and maneuvered southeast again towards Cold Harbor. Brig. Gen. Edward Ferrero's United States Colored Troops (USCT) division camped along Totopotomoy Creek later in June.