Battle of Darbytown Road

Battle of Darbytown Road (HM1V5)

Location: Henrico, VA 23231 Henrico County
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 28.354', W 77° 20.344'

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Lee's Last Advance North of the James

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, Field's 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 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.

"My dear Brother, As I know you will be anxious to hear from me when you hear of the fight that occurred yesterday, I therefore take the earliest opportunity to inform you that I have been permitted to survive another terrible fight?the order was given to charge and we raised a yell and dashed forward at a double quick. We got up within forty yards of the enemy and was ordered to halt, our line being cut down so fast it was thought advisable to halt and await reinforcements, but the support did not come up and we was compelled to fall back. It was the heaviest fire we ever was under, and we lost about one third of our men."
- James S. Wingard, Palmetto Sharpshooters, South Carolina. Letter to his brother, October 8, 1864
HM NumberHM1V5
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, October 11th, 2014 at 4:00pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 293159 N 4149867
Decimal Degrees37.47256667, -77.33906667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 28.354', W 77° 20.344'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 28' 21.24" N, 77° 20' 20.64" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)804
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2939-2953 Darbytown Rd, Henrico VA 23231, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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