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Colonial Heights, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Fort Clifton

A stronghold that was never taken

 
 
Fort Clifton CWT Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, March 15, 2009
1. Fort Clifton CWT Marker
Inscription. Fort Clifton, constructed between 1862 and 1864, helped protect the city of Petersburg from Union gunboats. Its high elevation and well-placed gun embrasures made Fort Clifton a stronghold that was never taken by Union forces until it was abandoned after the fall of Petersburg in April 1865. In 1864, Federal gunboats frequently steamed up the Appomattox River to observe the fort.

The most important event in Fort Clifton’s history occurred on May 9, 1864, when five Union gunboats sailed up the Appomattox River and opened fire. For more than three hours, Confederate artillerymen in the fort battled the heavier guns of the Federal fleet. The attack was repulsed and one Union gunboat, USS Samuel L. Brewster, was damaged and scuttled by her crew.

Federal gunboats also shelled Fort Clifton from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. on June 16, 1864, but were driven off. This was the last major Union attempt to pass Fort Clifton.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Location. 37° 16.89′ N, 77° 21.96′ W. Marker is in Colonial Heights, Virginia. Marker can be reached from Brockwell Lane 0.3 miles east of Conduit Road. Click for map. This marker is in Berberich Park behind Tussing Elementary School.
Location of Fort Clifton. image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, March 15, 2009
2. Location of Fort Clifton.
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. 0.3 miles away); Confederate Fortification (approx. 0.6 miles away); Ellerslie (approx. 2.2 miles away); a different marker also named Ellerslie (approx. 2.2 miles away); Dunlop Station (approx. 2.3 miles away); Dunlop's Station (approx. 2.3 miles away); Dictator (approx. 2.5 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Colonial Heights.
 
More about this marker. On the lower left is a sketch captioned, “Gunboat USS Commodore Perry on the Appomattox River near Port Walthall, by William Waud, July 1864 - Courtesy Library of Congress

On the center is a sketch captioned, “View of Fort Clifton, by William Waud, May-June 1864 - Courtesy Library of Congress

On the right is a regional map.
 
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.
Fort Clifton Batteries image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, March 15, 2009
3. Fort Clifton Batteries
Colonial Heights. (Submitted on March 16, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 

3. Gilmer Civil War Maps Collection at UNC. Plan of batteries at Fort Clifton, Appomattox River. (Submitted on March 16, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. Forts, CastlesWar, US Civil
 
Fort Clifton Batteries image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, March 15, 2009
4. Fort Clifton Batteries
Fort Clifton Batteries image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, March 15, 2009
5. Fort Clifton Batteries
Fort Clifton Earthworks image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, March 15, 2009
6. Fort Clifton Earthworks
View of Fort Clifton showing the Water Battery and obstructions in the Appomattox River image. Click for full size.
William Waud Library of Congress
7. View of Fort Clifton showing the Water Battery and obstructions in the Appomattox River
Inscribed below title: sketched from Battery B 2nd U.S. regulars (colored). Inscribed above image: obstructions in the river sunk by the rebels; Water Battery of Clifton Fort; Clifton House; The Battery may be shewn in action; Fort Clifton looks down the river. Harper's Weekly, July 23, 1864, p. 473.
Appomattox River below Fort Clifton (facing upriver towards Petersburg) image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, March 15, 2009
8. Appomattox River below Fort Clifton (facing upriver towards Petersburg)
Plan of batteries at Fort Clifton, Appomattox River. image. Click for full size.
Gilmer Civil War Maps Collection at UNC.
9. Plan of batteries at Fort Clifton, Appomattox River.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,833 times since then and 115 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   7. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   8, 9. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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