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Contact: Mike Andrus, 804 226-1981 x. 30
Richmond National Battlefield Park will present a weekend series of special programs on September 26 and 27, 2009 to commemorate the 145th anniversary of the 1864 battles of Chaffin's Farm at Fort Harrison. Activities run from 10:00 to 5:00 on Saturday and from 10:00 to 3:00 on Sunday. This event is free. Parking is available at the Fort Harrison Visitor Center located eight miles east of Richmond off Va. Route 5 at 8621 Battlefield Park Road.
About the Programs
Walking tours throughout both days will highlight some of the best preserved earthworks built to protect Richmond between 1862 and 1865. Park historians will retrace the Union attack route that led to the capture of Fort Harrison on September 29, 1864. Special walking tours of the New Market Heights battlefield, sponsored by Henrico County Parks and Recreation and led by historian Jimmy Price, will start from the Fort Harrison Visitor Center at 2:00 pm on Saturday and 1:00 pm on Sunday. During this tour visitors will learn the inspiring story of fourteen African American soldiers of the United States Colored Troops who earned the Medal of Honor for gallantry during the battle of New Market Heights. Visitors are advised to wear comfortable walking shoes and insect repellent for this mile-long walking tour.
This year’s program will include volunteers representing the 6th USCT, one of the units that participated in the attack at New Market Heights. Throughout the weekend volunteers representing both Union and Confederate troops will be camped inside Fort Harrison. Living history programs include artillery and rifle firing demonstrations at 11:00am, 1:00pm & 3:00pm on Saturday and 11:00am & 1:00pm on Sunday, interviews with Union General Godfrey Weitzel and staff and special activities for kids to become a Junior Ranger. The visitor center will be open throughout the weekend where a display of historic photographs and an orientation video on Fort Harrison will be available. On Saturday evening at 7:00 pm, local musician Al Neale will present a program featuring music that would have been familiar to soldiers and civilians during the Civil War. Bring blankets or lawn chairs; insect repellent is also recommended.
About the Site
In late September 1864 Union armies under General U.S. Grant assaulted the Richmond and Petersburg fortifications simultaneously in an effort to weaken or possibly break the Confederate defenses. The fighting outside Richmond at New Market Heights and Fort Harrison proved the most serious threat to the Confederate capital prior to its fall.