Chaffin's Farm/New Market Heights, VA

Date(s): September 29-30, 1864

Campaign(s): Richmond–Petersburg Campaign [June 1864-March 1865]

Battles in Campaign:


  • The Union army was laying siege to Richmond and Petersburg.


  • Union: Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler

  • Confederate: Gen. Robert E. Lee and Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell

Principal Forces:

  • Union: Army of the James

  • Confederate: Second Corps


  • On the night of September 28-29th, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler’s Army of the James crossed James River to attack Richmond's defenses north of the river.

  • The Union forces attacked at dawn and were successful at New Market Heights and Fort Harrison.

  • However, the Confederate forces rallied and contained the breakthrough.

  • Lee reinforced his lines north of the James.

  • On September 30th, Lee launched an unsuccessful counterattacked.

  • The Federals entrenched and the Confederates built a line of works that cut off the captured forts. 

  • The attack worked as Grant had planned.

  • When Lee shifted troops to meet the threat against Richmond the Confederate lines at Petersburg were weakened.

Photo Gallery2:

Empty Victory

Union forces take Fort Hoke as part of actions against Fort Harrison

Decription of Actions at Fort Harrison/Chaffin's Farm

Fort Harrison Trail Map Showing Earthworks of Fort Harrison and Fort Burnham

Confederate Counterattack on Fort Harrison

Fort Harrison Parapet

Confederate Earthworks

Gun Embrasure

Bombproof and Casemate

"The Big Guns Spoke"

Ground over which Union fotces attacked the fort.

Braving the Fire

Place where Union troops regrouped before attack on earthworks.

Surprise Attack

Union General Hiram Burham is killed during the fort's capture and the fort is renamed in his honor.

Black Troops Attack at Chaffin's Farm

Nearly all of Seventh U.S. Colored Troops were casualties in attack on Fort Gilmer.

Infantry Earthworks

Sutler's Cabin at Fort Harrison

Reconstruction of Abatis on Earthworks

Reconstruction of Abatis on Earthworks

Reconstruction of Abatis on Earthworks

Cannon Embrasure

Motor Embrasure


Soldier's Cabins

Meade Station Trail

Monotonous Toil

Prince George Court House Road


Slide Presentation: None

Classification3: B

Casualties4: 4,430 total

  • Union:

  • Confederate:

Results: Union Victory Miniature Union Victory

Battlefield Websites:

Lodging and Restaurants: Virginia Tourism

Recommended Resources:

1 National Park Service summary.

2 Please click on the image to enlarge it. You may copy the images if you include the following note and link with each image: "Courtesy of"

3 Classification:

  • A - having a decisive influence on a campaign and a direct impact on the course of the war

  • B - having a direct and decisive influence on their campaign

  • C - having observable influence on the outcome of a campaign

  • D - having a limited influence on the outcome of their campaign or operation but achieving or affecting important local objectives

4 Casualties are someone killed, injured, wounded, captured or missing.

Revised 04/12/2013