A short distance east on the Appomattox River stands Confederate Fort Clifton, an important fortification that guarded Petersburg against Union naval attack during the Civil War. On 9 May 1864, Federal gunboats commanded by Maj. Gen. Charles K. Graham attacked the fort. During the engagement, Fort Clifton's artillery disabled the army gunboat Samuel L. Brewster, which its crew then scuttled. The fort's garrison, commanded by Capt. S. Taylor Martin, of the Virginia artillery, received a special commendation from Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett, the commander of the Petersburg defenses. Fort Clifton was evacuated on 2 April 1865, one week before Lee's surrender at Appomattox.