Just to make matters worse for the visitors, they lost their influential back-row master Colin Charvis on the half-hour mark.
The former Welsh international was sent to the sin-bin for 10 minutes after being penalised for coming in from an off-side position to tackle Bath scrum-half Michael Classens.
It was the last thing Dragons coach Paul Turner would have wanted against a rampant Bath side, but some epic defence kept the score down as Bath looked to run riot.
A great tackle by Phil Dollman stopped the marauding Matt Banahan going over the line after he had been set free by Jonny Faamatuainu.
Winger Banahan did have back-up but Alex Crockett could not hold onto his offload.
As the Bath onslaught intensified, it was Dollman's back-line colleague Richard Fussell who was the hero just before the break.
The winger thwarted another score as Banahan again looked to scamper over in the corner after James' long, looping pass to Bath's right wing.
It was the highly-rated 21-year-old centre that again was looking to probe the Dragons defence but Banahan's burst through the centre was stopped by Adam Jones.
Somehow the Dragons, mainly made up of rookies and journeymen, were still in the match when Charvis returned just before half-time.
And the Welsh region, who had not been near the Bath try-line, were given hope a minute after half-time.
Arlidge kicked a long penalty to drag the courageous Dragons into an otherwise one-sided game.
The embattled visitors were given a further boost when the normally reliable boot of James missed from 40m.
Indiscipline threatened to hurt the Dragons again as they were reduced to 14 men when rookie number eight Lewis Evans was yellow-carded.
The Dragons had soaked up relentless pressure and countered with their first meaningful sortie into enemy territory just after the hour.
Charvis led the Dragons pack as they pounded the Bath defence but the hosts held firm and quickly countered.
Faamatuainu appeared from a ruck inside the Dragons 22-yard line and was preparing to celebrate a score until the Bath number eight was denied by a last-ditch Joe Bearman tackle.
The defiant Dragons defence finally cracked under the relentless pressure as Higgins eventually broke through with 13 minutes remaining.
The Bath replacement took James' long pass at the second attempt before bulldozing Charvis and Dragons skipper Tom Willis over their try-line for his third try of the season.
It was cruel on the Dragons but what Bath's domination deserved.
However, two late penalties from Connor earned the gallant visitors a losing bonus point in a game many predicted would be a cricket score.
Bath: Abendanon, Maddock, Crockett, Berne, Banahan, James, Claassens, Flatman, Mears, Stevens, Harrison, Short, Hooper, Lipman, Faamatuainu. Replacements: Higgins for Banahan (63), Bemand for Claassens (37), Barnes for Flatman (49), Dixon for Mears (63), Scaysbrook for Harrison (63). Not Used: Bell, Hape.
Dragons: Dollman, Wyatt, Sidey, Stcherbina, Fussell, Arlidge, W. Evans, Black, Willis, R. Thomas, A. Jones, Charteris, Bearman, Charvis, L. Evans. Replacements: Smith for Sidey (68), Connor for Arlidge (68), R. Lewis for W. Evans (72), Hall for A. Jones (68), Webb for L. Evans (68). Not Used: S. Jones, Coundley.
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