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Varina in Henrico County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

New Market Heights

Medals of Honor

 
 
New Market Heights Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bernard Fisher, December 1, 2021
1. New Market Heights Marker
Inscription.  
"The colored soldiers by coolness, steadiness, and determined courage and dash have silenced every cavil of the doubters of their soldierly capacity." — General Benjamin Butler, US Army

After the capture of New Market Heights, Paine's brigades, along with Birney's wing turned west and moved to join Ord for the advance on Richmond. Ord's troops captured Fort Harrison and managed to hold it against Confederate counterattacks. Elements of Paine's division were engaged north of Fort Harrison.

Recognition and praise for the bravery displayed by the USCT during their assault at New Market Heights followed soon after the battle. Butler commissioned a special medal for the men who fought in the engagement. The medals were made of silver and struck by Tiffany and Company. An inscription in Latin was on the back. Translated it read "Freedom will be theirs by the sword." Others, however, received another medal.

For their actions at New Market Heights, fourteen USCT, along with two of their white officers, received the Medal of Honor, the Nation's highest award for valor.

The ground where you stand
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connects us today to their courageous actions.

Medal of Honor Recipients
Pvt. William Barnes, Company C, 38th USCT
1st Sgt. Powhatan Beaty, Company G, 5th USCT
1st Sgt. James Bronson, Company D, 5th USCT
Sgt. Maj. Christian Fleetwood, 4th USCT
Pvt.James Gardiner, Company I, 36th USCT
Sgt. James H. Harris, Company B, 38th USCT
Sgt. Maj. Thomas R. Hawkins, 6th USCT
Sgt. Alfred Hilton, co. H, 4th USCT
Sgt. Maj. Milton Holland, 5th USCT
Cpl. Miles James, Company B, 36th USCT
1st Sgt. Alexander Kelly, Company F, 6th USCT
1st Sgt. Robert Penn, Company l, 5th USCT
1st Sgt. Edward Rateliff, Company C, 38th USCT
Pvt. Robert Veal, Company D, 4th USCT
Lt. Nathan Edgerton, Adjutant, 6th USCT
1st Lt. William Appleton, Company H, 4th USCT

(captions)
Presented to the 4th USCT by the free women of Baltimore, this is the flag that Christian Fleetwood rescued and carried through the remainder of the battle. — Courtesy of the Maryland Center for History and Culture

A native of Baltimore, Maryland, and born to free parents, Christian Fleetwood founded and ran a newspaper before the war. Fleetwood enlisted in the 4th USCT and rose to the rank of Sergeant Major. At New Market Heights, Fleetwood "seized the colors, after two color bearers had been shot down,
New Market Heights Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bernard Fisher, December 1, 2021
2. New Market Heights Marker
and bore them nobly through the fight." He received a Medal of Honor in April, 1865. This photograph depicts Fleetwood, standing fourth from right, wearing his Medal of Honor. Fleetwood served until May 1866 and after mustering out worked for the Freedman's Bureau and War Department. He passed away in Washington, D.C., on September 28, 1914 and is buried in Landover, Maryland. — Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Born a slave outside Richmond in 1837, Powhatan Beaty escaped to freedom and settled in Cincinnati, Ohio. Beaty enlisted in an Ohio unit that became the 5th USCT in June 1863. During the battle, Beaty, now a First Sergeant "took command of his company, all of the officers having been killed or wounded and gallantly led it." For his actions, Beaty received the Medal of Honor. After the war, Beaty returned to Cincinnati and became a renowned Shakespearean actor. He died there in 1916, and rests in the Union Baptist Church Cemetery. Courtesy of the Library of Congress

 
Erected 2021 by Civil War Trails, American Battlefield Trust.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical date for this entry is September 29, 1864.
 
Location. 37° 
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25.462′ N, 77° 19.253′ W. Marker is in Varina, Virginia, in Henrico County. Marker can be reached from Kingsland Road, 0.3 miles west of Deep Bottom Road, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Henrico VA 23231, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named New Market Heights (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named New Market Heights (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Battle of New Market Heights (approx. half a mile away); The War of 1812 / Richmond's War of 1812 Defensive Camps (approx. half a mile away); New Market Road (approx. 0.7 miles away); George Thorpe (approx. 0.8 miles away); a different marker also named New Market Heights (approx. 0.9 miles away); Varina (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Varina.
 
Also see . . .  New Market Heights (Chaffin's Farm). American Battlefield Trust (Submitted on December 1, 2021.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 1, 2021. It was originally submitted on December 1, 2021, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 217 times since then and 28 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 1, 2021, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.

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Apr. 18, 2024