Editor’s Note: This article was provided by and transcribed by K. S. McPhail (New Kent County History and Thread the Rude Eye).
[Correspondence of the Sentinel.]
October 8th, 1864
I have heard so much, for the last few days, about what part this [Chaffin’s Bluff] battalion1 acted in the engagement near here, on the 29th of September last, I feel that justice should be done, if possible.2 For about ten days before the 29th [of September], over one hundred and fifty of our battalion had been detailed to throw up works at “Signal Hill,” about two mile below here. On the morning of the advance of the enemy, the few remaining men were ordered to proceed out to our line of fortifications between here and “Signal Hill.” Very soon after the enemy appeared in front of “Fort Harrison.” A small portion of the Goochland Artillery were in the fort; Capt. [C. Tacitus] Allen, with a small portion of the Lunenburg Artillery, was to the right in a small redoubt; Lieut. Winder, with two small howitzers, was to his right; Capt. [Andrew J.] Jones, with a portion of the Pamunkey Artillery, to his right. When the enemy entered Fort Harrison, Captain Allen was forced with his few men, to join Lieut. Winder. They then for several hours kept the enemy in check until about ten o’clock, when Captain A[llen]. received a painful wound in the right hand. Shortly after, other troops came to their assistance. Then the enemy were completely checked. Lieut. Col. J.M. Ellerson, had left the Bluff early in the morning for Fort Harrison, where they were all taken prisoners by the rapid advance of the enemy. All testify to the bravery of Captain Allen and Lieutenant Winder, during the whole engagement. They had but a few men, until our other men joined them from Signal Hill, but they disposed them to the best advantage. I hope before long the case can be made to all, that what few men we had here should not be blamed for the fall of Fort Harrison. If our battalion had not been scattered so much, the enemy would never have occupied any of the works. I am happy to say the small portion of the works the enemy occupy does them no material service towards their “on to Richmond.” Hoping some abler pen may take this matter in hand, I will say no more for the present.
- SOPO Editor’s Note: The writer belonged to the Chaffin’s Bluff Battalion of the Department of Richmond, commanded by Lt. Col. John M. Maury. The battalion protected the entrenchments at, naturally, Chaffin’s Bluff on the James River, including Fort Harrison. The battalion consisted of the following batteries on September 29, 1864: Pamunkey Virginia Artillery (Jones’ VA Battery), Lunenburg Rebel Virginia Artillery (Allen’s VA Battery), James City Virginia Artillery (Davis’ VA Battery), Goochland Virginia Artillery (Guerrant’s VA Battery). ↩
- SOPO Editor’s Note: The writer is referring to the Battle of Fort Harrison during the greater Battle of Chaffin’s Bluff, fought on September 29, 1864. ↩
- “Correspondence of the Sentinel.” Richmond Sentinel. October 12, 1864, p. ? col. ? ↩
Who owner Chaffin’s Farm/Bluff property in the civil war I’m tracing my family history and would like to tie this battle in if it’s one of my relatives. Any books or references that lead to this answer would be greatly appreciated.
Gary Roy Chaffin
2858 sw Shimmer Ln
Grants Pass, Oregon 97527