HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Starting in September, Central Virginians will have the opportunity to take a step back in time to experience New Market Heights, one of the most important battlefields during the Civil War.
To commemorate the 158th anniversary of New Market Heights and the crucial role it played in the Civil War, The National Park Service is hosting a tour for the first time starting on Saturday, Sept. 24. The tour will follow the stories of sites that were significant in the two separate battles that eventually led to the fall of Petersburg.
“It becomes a place where we can start to connect people with the land and that they can begin to appreciate the effort of preservation,” said Parker Agelasto, Executive Director at the Capital Region Land Conservancy.
The first battle occurred at Fort Harrison, where Union troops fought with little success. The second battle occurred a few miles down the road at New Market Heights, where Black troops attacked the Confederate defense, leading to the withdrawal of forces from Petersburg, which eventually led to a Union victory in 1865. Fourteen soldiers who were involved received the medal of honor for their bravery.
While the battle happened more than 150 years ago, it wasn’t until about 20 years ago that the soldiers’ efforts were recognized.
The parcels of land where the battle took place are currently owned by Henrico County, the American Battlefield Trust and the Capital Region Land Conservancy, which is currently working on an archeological project to potentially extend the tour of New Market Heights in the future.
“It will help us to develop a bit of a trail plan to see where public access could connect the various parcels,” Agelasto said.
Those who wish to experience the tour should arrive at Fort Harrison on Sept. 24 at around 10 a.m. The tour will follow the itinerary below:
|10 a.m.||Ranger-led walking tour|
|11 a.m.||11 am Presentation on the early preservation of the battlefield and the Civilian Conservation Corps|
|1 p.m.||Car caravan tour from Fort Harrison to New Market Heights, led by the American Battlefield Trust|
|2 p.m.||Ranger-led walking tour|
|3 p.m.||Presentation on the early preservation of the battlefield and the Civilian Conservation Corps|