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Battle of Fort Darling


As the Confederates began their withdrawal north up the peninsula, and were forced to scuttle the CSS Virginia on the James River, the Union navy sent a flotilla of five iron clads up the James River towards Richmond. Seven miles below Richmond, on Drewry's Bluff above the James, was Fort Darling, the only Confederate position left defending the city along that river. The Confederates further strengthened the position by placing numerous submerged obstacles below the bluff. On May 15th, as the Union flotilla approached the fort, it came under heavy bombardment while the height of Drewry's Bluff prevented the Union from effectively returning the fire. After three hours of abuse, the federal ships retreated. This Battle of Fort Darling, also known as the Battle of Drewry's Bluff or Drewry's Fort, stopped the Union designs on Richmond along the James.

Battle of Fort Darling
"Balloon View of the Attack on Fort Darling, in the James River, by Commander Rogers's Gun-Boat Flotilla, 'Galena,' 'Monitor,' Etc." From Harper's Weekly. New York, May 31, 1862. Wood engraving. Cover illustration, 9 1/4 x 10 3/4. Very good condition.

A nice bird's eye view of the battle, issued just a couple weeks after the event. The James River is clearly laid out, with Richmond seen in the distance. $35

"Fort Darling, Drury's Bluff, on the James River," and "Reconnoissance on the James River by United States Gun-Boats." From Harper's Weekly. New York, June 28, 1862. Wood engravings. Each, 4 1/2 x 13 3/4. $30

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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. April 15, 2016