“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Colonial Heights, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Fort Clifton

Guardian of the Appomattox

Fort Clifton CWT Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Bernard Fisher, March 15, 2009
1. Fort Clifton CWT Marker
Inscription. Confederate Fort Clifton guarded the Appomattox River and helped protect Petersburg in 1864-1865. The three earthworks that comprised the fortís batteries still stand on the bluffs along the river. Artillerists and militiamen garrisoned the position in 1862, and the fortifications were completed early in 1864. A powder magazine, guardhouse and prison stockade, hospital, and even a “ladies quarters” stood inside the fort, while underground huts were “built into ravines and gullies” around it. Rifle pits - running northwest toward a six-gun battery on Swift Creek - protected the fortís flanks from infantry assault and are readily visible behind the main earthworks today.

In May and June 1864, Fort Clifton withstood five separate Union sorties up the Appomattox River. The most serious attack came on May 9, during the Bermuda Hundred campaign, when army gunboats commanded by Gen. Charles K. Graham bombarded the fort while Federal forces probed Confederate defenses on both sides of the river. During this engagement, the gunboat Samuel L. Brewster was disabled by Confederate fire and scuttled by her crew.

By early 1865, a Confederate artilleryman described the Clifton garrison as “ragged, barefooted, and even bareheaded,” whose sparse diet consisted of worm-eaten peas, rancid
Berberich Park Photo, Click for full size
By Bernard Fisher, March 15, 2009
2. Berberich Park
pork, and unbolted corn. As the 10-month siege of Petersburg progressed, the men were constantly exposed to the fire of Federal pickets and artillery on the opposite bank of the river. Fort Clifton was evacuated on April 2, 1865, and a detail spiked its 14 guns and blew up the powder magazine. A week later, members of Fort Cliftonís garrison surrendered with the remnants of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House.
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Location. 37° 16.838′ N, 77° 22.041′ W. Marker is in Colonial Heights, Virginia. Marker is on Brockwell Lane 0.3 miles east of Conduit Road, in the median. Click for map. This marker is in the parking lot of Berberich Park at the end of Brockwell Lane, behind Tussing Elementary School. Marker is in this post office area: Colonial Heights VA 23834, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Fort Clifton (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Fort Clifton (approx. ľ mile away); Confederate Fortification (approx. half a mile away); Ellerslie (approx. 2.1 miles away); a different marker
Fort Clifton Battery Photo, Click for full size
By Bernard Fisher, March 15, 2009
3. Fort Clifton Battery
also named Ellerslie (approx. 2.1 miles away); Dunlop Station (approx. 2.3 miles away); Dunlop's Station (approx. 2.3 miles away); Dictator (approx. 2.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Colonial Heights.
More about this marker. On the lower left is “William Waudís sketch of Grahamís attack on Fort Clifton, drawn from observation tower.” Courtesy Library of Congress

In the center is a sketch captioned, "Combat artist William Waud sketched Federal batteries bombarding Fort Clifton. The Clifton House, from which the fort took its name, is clearly identified. Harperís Weekly, July 23, 1864."

On the upper right is a photo of “Gen. Charles K. Graham” Courtesy Library of Congress
Also see . . .
1. City of Colonial Heights. History of Fort Clifton. (Submitted on March 16, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 

2. Civil War Traveler. Colonial Heights. (Submitted on March 16, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 
Categories. Forts, CastlesWar, US Civil
Fort Clifton Earthworks Photo, Click for full size
By Bernard Fisher, March 15, 2009
4. Fort Clifton Earthworks
National Register of Historic Places tablet at the park entrance. Photo, Click for full size
By Bernard Fisher, March 15, 2009
5. National Register of Historic Places tablet at the park entrance.
Tribute to <b>John E. Brockwell, Jr.</b> 1925 - 1993. Photo, Click for full size
By Bernard Fisher, March 15, 2009
6. Tribute to John E. Brockwell, Jr. 1925 - 1993.
For his development and love of Fort Clifton; his founding of the Arts and Crafts festival; his leadership of the Colonial Heights Historical Society; and his love for the city of Colonial Heights, Va. From his friends May 1994.
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,771 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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