Built in 1862, Fort Stevens was part of the Confederate inter-defense line of Richmond. This fort was named for Col. W.H. Stevens, who was in charge of the construction of Richmond's defenses. Most fortifications were built quickly and made of earth supported by logs. Because Fort Stevens did not immediately come under fire, it was built with a sandbag interior, making it more permanent.
Not until May 14, 1864, was this strong position attacked. Two days later, it became the pivot point for the Confederate counterattack on Gen. Benjamin Butler's Army of the James. During this time, Fort Stevens was occupied by the 27th South Carolina Infantry of Hagood's Brigade and the four guns of the Surry Light Artillery of Surry County, Va. On the morning of May 16, the Surry Light Artillery was removed and put in support of the counterattack on Gen. Butler's army.