American Battlefield Trust’s map of the Battle of Totopotomoy Creek
Following the Battle of North Anna, General Ulysses S. Grant’s Federal forces continued its advance southward. Leading the way, Yankee cavalry skirmished with Confederates nears the Pamunkey River, crossing at Dabney’s Ferry (Hanovertown) and at Crump’s Creek on May 27. During a cavalry fight at Haw’s Shop the next day, Union and Confederate infantry arrived in the vicinity. The Confederates entrenched behind Totopotomoy Creek. On the 29th, the Union Second, Ninth, and Fifth Corps probed Lee’s position along the creek, while the Sixth Corps felt its way toward Hanover Court House. Early on the 30th, the Sixth Corps turned south to come in on the far right flank of the Union line (Hancock’s Second Corps) but bogged down in swampy Crump’s Creek without getting into position. Hancock’s men forced a crossing of Totopotomoy Creek in two places, capturing the first line of Confederate trenches, but the advance was stopped at the main line. The Union Ninth Corps maneuvered into position on Hancock’s left, driving back Confederate pickets on the Shady Grove Road. In the meantime, the General Gouverneur K. Warren’s Fifth Corps, on the Federals’ far left flank, was attacked by Early’s corps near Bethesda Church. The Federals were driven back to Shady Grove Road after heavy fighting. Confederate Brig. Gen. George Doles was killed by a sharpshooter near Bethesda Church on June 2.