Portrait of James H. Harris

Sergeant James H. Harris was among fourteen African-American soldiers who received the Congressional Medal of Honor for gallantry at the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm and New Market Heights. [Wikimedia Commons]

Battle of Chaffin’s Farm and New Market Heights Facts

September 29–30, 1864

Key facts about the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm and New Market Heights.

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Date

  • September 29–30, 1864

Location

  • Roughly 10 miles south and east of Richmond, Virginia

Campaign

Principal Union Commanders

  • Major General Benjamin Butler
  • Major General David B. Birney
  • Brigadier General Charles J. Paine
  • Brigadier General George Stannard
  • Major General Edward O. C. Ord

Principal Confederate Commanders

  • Brigadier General John Gregg
  • Major General Charles W. Field

Union Forces Engaged

  • 10th and 18th Corps of the Army of the James
  • Kautz’s Cavalry Division

Confederate Forces Engaged

  • Department of North Carolina & Southern Virginia
  • Department of Richmond
  • Gregg’s Brigade of the Army of Northern Virginia

Number of Union Soldiers Engaged

  • Roughly 26,600

Number of Confederate Soldiers Engaged

  • Roughly 14,500

Estimated Union Casualties

  • 3,372 (391 killed, 2,317 wounded, and 649 missing/captured)

Estimated Confederate Casualties

  • 2,000 (250 killed, 1,250 wounded, and 500 missing/captured)

Result

  • Union victory

Significance

  • Strategically, the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm and New Market Heights was a Union victory because it achieved Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant’s objective of drawing Rebel defenders away from the Petersburg area as he increased his stranglehold on the city by extending his lines farther west.
  • During the assault on New Market Heights, Brigadier General Charles J. Paine’s division of United States Colored Troops lost one of every three men engaged, leaving little doubt about the willingness of black soldiers to face grave danger in service to the Union.
  • On April 6, 1865, the War Department bestowed the Congressional Medal of Honor on 14 African-Americans who participated in the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm and New Market Heights.

Timeline of the Petersburg Campaign

These are the main battles and events of the Petersburg Campaign in order.

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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Battle of Chaffin’s Farm and New Market Heights Facts
  • Coverage September 29–30, 1864
  • Author
  • Keywords Battle of Chaffin’s Farm and New Market Heights
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 27, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 19, 2021
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