Battle of Darbytown Road

Address

2999 Darbytown Road
Henrico, VA

Geo Coordinates

37.472643,-77.339028

Description

A massive two-pronged Union attack on September 29, 1864, captured New Market Heights and a section of Richmond’s outer defenses including Fort Harrison. Not wishing to concede a vital part of his line to the enemy, Confederate commander Robert E. Lee ordered a counterattack the next day. The assault failed miserably. Undaunted, Lee ordered a second attempt. On October 7, with cavalry and two divisions of infantry, Lee attempted to regain the lost fortifications around Fort Harrison. It would be his last major offensive north of the James River. The attack began well for the Confederates. With the support of the cavalry, Gen. Charles Field’s infantry division overwhelmed Federal cavalry under Gen. August Kautz along Darbytown Road. Following up his early success, Field turned south to attack Gen. Alfred Terry’s Federal division along New Market Road. However, Field’s support, under Gen. Robert Hoke, remained inactive. Without Hoke, Fields three brigades pushed straight ahead. Terry’s command had the advantage of fighting behind earthworks and firing with Spencer repeating rifles. The Federal artillery quickly got into the action and punished the Confederate attack. Nearly 1,000 men fell in the short, bitter struggle. By noon, the firing ceased and the Southern survivors faded away.

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