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A view of the James River, there are historical photographs of the fort and its defenders had the same perspective here.
Drewry's Bluff - Richmond National Battlefield
Closest available address
7600 Fort Darling Road Richmond, Virginia 23237
Open sunrise to sunset.
Best time to visit
Summer, Fall, Spring
Drewry's Bluff was a Confederate earthen fort in the US Civil War. It was situated on a 90 foot bluff overlooking the James River and only 8 miles from the Confederate capital Richmond. The historical site is well preserved and presented. Aside from the fort itself, there are interpretive signs, a cannon and walking trail. The 40 acre park unit is part of the Richmond National Battlefield Park.
The fort was a vital part of Southern defenses because it controlled the James River, which was navigable by warships and therefore a Union naval attack on Richmond was a real threat. Perfectly situated for defense, Drewry’s Bluff had a clear line of fire on the river for several miles downstream. The fort was tested in May 1862 when a small Union fleet attacked as part of the larger Union Peninsula Campaign. Southern defenders scuttled ships in the river which hampered Union ships. When the Northern fleet was blocked, it bombarded the fort for several hours but turned back when ammunition ran low and after failing to make progress. Another Union attack took place in the area in 1864 and was by land but it too was checked, and a Confederate counterattack led to a Union retreat.
There are several interpretive signs and an audio recording in the fort that describe its historical service and the 1862 battle. The fort and nearby areas were extensively developed by the Confederacy such that by the end of the war this installation included a variety of buildings for both military and civilian purposes. While the buildings are gone, the remaining fort still provides a good historical perspective, and there are great views of the James River. Although the historical site is of a military nature, it should still appeal to a range of tastes. The interpretive signs offer meaningful historical insights, and the fort is easy to access via a short trail. Also, it can be seen quickly. Drewry’s Bluff makes for a quality leisure and recreational choice in the Richmond area.
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