“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Richmond in Henrico County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Battle of Darbytown Road

Lee’s Last Advance North of the James

Battle of Darbytown Road marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, April 25, 2007
1. Battle of Darbytown Road marker
Inscription.  A massive two-pronged Union attack on September 29, 1864, captured New Market Heights and a section of Richmond’s outer defenses including Fort Harrison. Not wishing to concede a vital part of his line to the enemy, Confederate commander Robert E. Lee ordered a counterattack the next day. The assault failed miserably. Undaunted, Lee ordered a second attempt. On October 7, with cavalry and two divisions of infantry, Lee attempted to regain the lost fortifications around Fort Harrison. It would be his last major offensive north of the James River.

The attack began well for the Confederates. With the support of the cavalry, Gen. Charles Field’s infantry division overwhelmed Federal cavalry under Gen. August Kautz along Darbytown Road. Following up his early success, Field turned south to attack Gen. Alfred Terry’s Federal division along New Market Road. However, Field’s support, under Gen. Robert Hoke, remained inactive. Without Hoke, Field’s three brigades pushed straight ahead. Terry’s command had the advantage of fighting behind earthworks and firing with Spencer repeating rifles. The Federal artillery quickly got into action and punished
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the Confederate attack. Nearly 1,000 men fell in the short, bitter struggle. By noon, the firing ceased and the Southern survivors faded away.

“My dear Brother, As I know you will be anxious to hear from me when you hear of the fight that occurred yesterday, I therefore take the earliest opportunity to inform you that I have been permitted to survive another terrible fight…the order was given to charge and we raised a yell and dashed forward at a double quick. We got up within forty yards of the enemy and was ordered to halt, our line being cut down so fast it was thought advisable to halt and await reinforcements, but the support did not come up and we was compelled to fall back. It was the heaviest fire we ever was under, and we lost about one third of our men.”
- James S. Wingard, Palmetto Sharpshooters, South Carolina. Letter to his brother, October 8, 1864
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is September 1780.
Location. 37° 28.354′ N, 77° 20.344′ W. Marker is in Richmond, Virginia, in Henrico County. Marker is on Darbytown Road (County Route 600), on the right when
Civil War Trails marker for Battle of Darbytown Road image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, April 25, 2007
2. Civil War Trails marker for Battle of Darbytown Road
traveling east. Marker is at the entrance to Dorey Park, east of Laburnum Avenue. 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 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Second Battle of Fair Oaks (a few steps from this marker); Richmond Defences (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Dorey Family (approx. ¼ mile away); Darbytown Road / Pioneer Baptist Church (approx. 0.3 miles away); a different marker also named Richmond Defences (approx. one mile away); Defenses of Richmond (approx. 1.2 miles away); 1862 Peninsula Campaign (approx. 1.2 miles away); Lee vs. Grant (approx. 1.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Richmond.
More about this marker. In the center is a portrait of John Gregg, who was "commanding the Texas Brigade, was killed while leading his command against the Union position just north of New Market Road." On the right is a drawing, "published shortly after the battle in Harper’s Weekly magazine, was based on an eyewitness sketch drawn by combat artist William Waud." A map on the left carries the caption, "Despite initial success here on the Darbytown Road, Field's advance stalled and then was repulsed after the failed attack against the Union defense along the New Market Road."
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on November 19, 2007, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 3,483 times since then and 154 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 19, 2007, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.

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Nov. 29, 2023