This map is based on one given
in Donald Pfanz's biography of Confederate Lt.
Gen. Richard S. Ewell, who commanded the
Department of Richmond for much of the siege. The
map was intended to show the Federal plan of
attack during the Fort Harrison operation of late
September, 1864, but it also serves to establish
the road network north of the James and its
relationship to the Federal bridgehead at Deep
Bottom and the Confederate lines in front of
Richmond and along the James. The notation
"FH" shows the position of Fort
Harrison; the Interior Line of defenses is just
off the upper left corner of the map.
aftermath of the Fort Harrison operation, the
Federals drew a line of works close up to the
Confederate Exterior Line all the way from Signal
Hill to Fort Harrison (which the Federals renamed
Fort Burnham, in honor of Brig. Gen. Hiram
Burnham, killed in the fighting on September 29,
1864), across the Varina Road and then across the
New Market Road. A line of detached forts covered
the Federal flank along the New Market Road and
almost connected with a second line of defenses
covering the Deep Bottom bridgehead.
Federal presence north of the James was a serious
threat to Lee's position. Federal troops here
could make easy use of the Darbytown, Charles
City, and Williamsburg Roads to advance on
Richmond, forcing Lee to keep more troops here
than heretofore had been the case. This was the
logic behind Weitzel's ill-fated attack in
late October, 1864.