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FORT HARRISON



(Renamed Union FORT BURNHAM, September, 1864)

INCLUDING FORTS GILMER AND ALEXANDER



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Fort Burnham - 1864 or 1865 56
Fort Harrison (then Fort Burnham), 1864 or 1865.


Fort Harrison - interior
Fort Harrison - outer wall
Fort Burnham Interior.
Earthen Wall Constructed by Union Forces.
Fort Harrison Exterior.
Confederate Earthen Wall.
Note the person indicated by the arrow.
 

On September 29, 1864, 2,500 Union forces over ran and captured Fort Harrison. It was the strongest Confederate Fort on the Richmond-Petersburg line. The next day Lee personally organized a major effort to retake the fort, but failed.

Fort Harrison consisted of a semi-circle of earthern works facing the Union lines. When the Union forces took it over they built earthen works facing the opposite direction, thus completing a circle. They also renamed Fort Harrison, Fort Burnham after the Union General killed in the September 29 attack.


Fort Burnham - 1864 or 1865 81
Fort Burnham - 1864 or 1865.




First Park Headquarters
First Park Headquarters.
(It is located at Fort Harrison)

This log building (photo taken in 2003) was built in 1930 and served as the headquarters for the Battlefield Parks Corporation, a private organization, composed of Richmond citizens working to preserve and protect Civil War battlefields around the Richmond area. In 1937 it purchased acreage around Fort Harrison, and later Cold Harbor, Gaines' Mill, Malvern Hill, and Beaver Dam Creek.

In 1936 Congress created the Richmond National Battlefield Park which included all lands acquired by the Battlefield Parks Corporation. This log structure became the visitor center and headquarters for this new national park. It remained in use until 1959.

In 2007 it again became the National Park Visitor Center for Fort Harrison and surrounding forts and battlefields. With the addition of bathrooms and and major enhancements, it replaced the existing visitor center which was removed allowing a more complete view of the Fort.

New Park Visitor Center
New National Park Service Fort Harrison Visitor Center - 2007

Old Park Visitor Center
Old National Park Service Fort Harrison Visitor Center being removed - 2007

Park Visitor Center-2008
New National Park Service Fort Harrison Visitor Center (arrow)
taken from the location of the previous Visitor Center - 2008



 
Fort Gilmer
Fort Gilmer
Fort Alexander
Fort Alexander
 

Fort Gilmer and Fort Alexander occupied the Richmond-Petersburg line north of Fort Harrison. Fort Gilmer repulsed a spirited attack on September 29 (The day that Fort Harrison fell). Fort Alexander was built after the September 29th attack. Both Forts remained in Confederate hands until April, 1865.

The National Park Services designates Fort Alexander "Battery Alexander" at the site but their map at the visitor center shows it as "Fort Alexander". Evidently "battery" and "fort" were used interchangeably. In General Edward Porter Alexander's book "Fighting for the Confederacy" edited by Gary W. Gallagher, he calls Fort Harrison and Fort Alexander, Battery Harrison and Battery Alexander in several places.
 



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