New Market Heights - Union Breakthrough - September 29, 1864
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New Market Heights - Union Breakthrough - September 29, 1864 (August 2019)
American Battlefield Trust
American Battlefield Trust’s map of the Union Breakthrough at the Battle of New Market Heights
During the night of September 28-29, Union Gen. Benjamin Butler’s Army of the James crossed its namesake, the James River, to assault the Richmond defenses north of the river. The columns attacked at dawn.
The Federal division of Gen. David B. Birney enjoyed early success, breaking through the Confederate lines, and driving northwest along the New Market Road and Fort Harrison. After initial Union successes at New Market Heights and the capture of 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. During the action at Fort Harrison Union general Hiram Burnham was killed, and Fort Harrison was renamed in Burnham's honor. At New Market Heights, 14 members of the United States Colored Troops were recipients of the Medal of Honor for their actions in the battle.