American Battlefield Trust’s map of the Battle of New Market Heights
During the night of September 28-29, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler’s Army of the James crossed James River to assault the Richmond defenses north of the river. The columns attacked at dawn. After initial Union successes at New Market Heights and Fort Harrison, the Confederates rallied and contained the breakthrough. Lee reinforced his lines north of the James and, on September 30, he counterattacked unsuccessfully. The Federals entrenched, and the Confederates erected a new line of works cutting off the captured forts. Union general Burnham was killed. As Grant anticipated, Lee shifted troops to meet the threat against Richmond, weakening his lines at Petersburg.