The Battle at Chaffin’s Bluff took place along Confederate fortifications near Fort Harrison. This was the strongest point of the Confederate line, and close to Richmond, Virginia, the Confederate capital. By mid-morning on 29 September 1864, Union soldiers had crossed open fields and swept along trench lines to take Fort Harrison. Confederate defenders sought refuge behind a second line. Union soldiers were exposed to heavy Confederate rifle and artillery fire and, once inside the Fort, lost commanders to critical injury and became disorganized. After achieving some success against the Confederates, Union commander Brigadier General Heckman’s supporting column drifted northwards and was repulsed. Despite this, and the arrival of Confederate reinforcements on the following day, Fort Harrison fell to the Union. The Union’s African-American unit, the 38th United States Colored Infantry Regiment, was one of several African-American units involved in the attack and 14 received the Medal of Honor for bravery.
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