Contact: Elizabeth Paradis Stern, 804-226-5023
RICHMOND, Va.–Exactly 150 years ago, as Union and Confederate armies entrenched around Richmond and Petersburg in late 1864, Ulysses S. Grant attempted to force an end to the stalemate by pressing Robert E. Lee to extend his ever-thinning ranks.Sending Union troops north of the James River to assault the defenses of Richmond not only stretched Confederate resources, it also diverted Lee's attention from attacks elsewhere along what would become a 37-mile front stretching from Richmond to beyond Petersburg.On September 29, 1864, an assault by Union forces –including United States Colored Troops –on Confederate defenses in eastern Henrico County finally achieved success.With victories at Fort Harrison and New Market Heights, Grant established a toe-hold just miles south of the Confederate capital.
From September 27 to September 30, 2014, Richmond National Battlefield Park will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the battles of Fort Harrison and New Market Heights.
On Saturday, September 27 and Sunday, September 28, the park will offer ranger programs exploring the Fort Harrison battlefield, including the miles of fortifications and earthen defenses still visible in the area today.On both days, free hour-long bus tours will explore the Fort Harrison battlefield within and beyond the park boundary.Led by park historian Robert E.L. Krick, these will be "windshield" tours departing approximately every hour and a half from the Fort Harrison visitor center.A day-long bus tour on Saturday, led by historian and author Richard Sommers, will explore the September 29-October 1 fighting below Richmond and below Petersburg.
The park will partner with Henrico County Recreation and Parks to offer additional special anniversary programs.On Monday, September 29, park rangers and county staff will conduct tours of the Fort Harrison and New Market Heights battlefields at the exact time of the historical events and in the places where they happened.Ranger-led tours will also investigate the unsuccessful Confederate counter-attack on September 30 at the time and in the places where it occurred.
On Saturday, September 13, the park and the county will partner to offer an overview of the Richmond-Petersburg campaign, including newly identified historic photos of the landscape around Fort Harrison.The presentation by ranger and historian Mike Gorman will take place at the Henrico Theatre.
Unless otherwise indicated, programs are free and will take place near or depart from the Fort Harrison Visitor Center at 8621 Battlefield Park Road, Varina, 23231.Program details can be found on the park's website here.
Last updated: June 28, 2017