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Charge! Issue 27, Page 7: The Battle of Fort Pocahontas (Wilson’s Wharf) by Jerry Stefek

Editor’s Note: The following American Civil War miniatures wargame scenario first appeared in Charge! Issue 27, pages 7-12 and is used with the written permission of Charge! publisher Scott Mingus and Fort Pocahontas scenario designer Jerry Stefek.  All text and images are used with permission and may not be reproduced without the written permission of the individuals listed above.

This is an updated version of the scenario found in charge and was provided to Beyond the Crater by Jerry Stefek.

The Battle of Fort Pocahontas (Wilson’s Wharf): May 24, 18641


Fort Pocahontas is privately owned and preserved by the grandson and family of President Tyler. They did a very nice job of documenting the battle.


My primary source for a description of the battle was from an article written by Ed Besh.


The maps come from the same web site.



  1. Charge! Issue 27, pages 7-12
{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Brendan May 15, 2010, 1:55 pm

    Thank you for sharing this information & the link to the Fort Pocahontas website. I am embarrassed to admit that I’ve never heard of this battle, even though I went to the College of William & Mary, right down the road from Fort Pocahontas (and evidently involved in its preservation & archaeological investigation). Wish I’d known! It’s a fascinating engagement and one that deserves more attention, more for its social & political significance than its strategic impact.

  • Jerry Stefek July 13, 2010, 3:09 pm

    Thank you for you kind words Brendan. I think it is an interesting battle from both a historic political perspective and as a military tactical challenge. It is a battle that represents the bravery and determination of free back men fighting the Union. It also displays the Confederacy’s political need to defeat this force even though they posed no real military threat. It is a good example of the strong army navy cooperation the Union generally had.

    From a war game tactical point of view, you have a Confederate Division that out numbers a Union Brigade by 2 to 1. The Union has strong earth works with an obvious weak point on one side. The Union has a lot of artillery the Confederates have none. The Union has longer ranged muzzle loading rifled muskets. The Confederates have breech loading carbines, which allow them to fire from a prone position. I think the Union has a slight advantage but the Confederate’s chances for a win are not impossible. Fitz’s attack strategy of using a pinning force in front of the fort and attacking the weak side made good military sense. It didn’t work but I don’t fault his judgment.


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