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Civil War battlefield protected by conservation easement

The site includes fortifications where United States Colored Troops fought for a Union victory.

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The New Market Line was made up of earthen fortifications.

Photo provided by Capital Region Land Conservancy

Another 49 acres of Civil War battlefield land will now be preserved for public access and historical interpretation, this time at New Market Heights Battlefield.

The Capital Region Land Conservancy announced the purchase, which was made possible by a combination of grants from the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation and the National Park Service. The land had been included on Preservation Virginia’s 2021 list of the commonwealth’s most endangered historic places.

The Battle of Chaffin’s Farm and New Market Heights was fought in September 1864 in Henrico County. It was part of Ulysses S. Grants strategy of simultaneous attacks north and south of the James and a key victory in the midst of the siege of Petersburg.

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From left to right: Medal of Honor recipients Christian Fleetwood, James H. Harris, and Alexander Kelly.

Photos via Library of Congress

Critical to the ultimate success of the campaign was the role of the United States Colored Troops, who led the attack by charging New Market Heights, suffering heavy losses. For their valor, 14 Black soldiers received the Medal of Honor. Around six months later, USCT soldiers in the 22nd regiment were among the first foot soldiers to enter Richmond.

CRLC’s purchase includes a nearly 800-ft segment of the original earthen fortificationsalso known as the New Market Line — that were the site of the entrenched fighting.

In the future, the VA Dept. of Historic Resources will hold a conservation easement on the property to preserve the cultural and historical landscape.

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