The Battle of Fort Pocahontas

May 24, 1864 in Charles County, Virginia

Union Forces Commanded by
Brig. Gen. Edward A. Wild
Strength Killed Wounded Missing / Captured
± 1,800 2 24 -
Confederate Forces Commanded by
Maj. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee
Strength Killed Wounded Missing / Captured
± 3,000 20 100 -
Conclusion: Union Victory
Grant's Overland Campaign

The battle of Fort Pocahontas took place on May 24, when Confederate cavalrymen led by Gen. Robert E. Lee's nephew, Fitzhugh Lee’s, cavalry division attacked the Union supply depot, an earthen fort garrisoned by African-American soldiers commanded by Gen. Edward A. Wild, at Wilson’s Wharf. The Confederates first attacked from the north and then from the east. The Confederates were repulsed by the 2 black regiments. The smaller Union force won and maintained the Union's grip on James River navigation.

Historical accounts indicate that during 1864 the fort was home to many African-American slaves in the region who left their masters to seek refuge with the Union troops. Imprisoned at the fort during this period were Confederate sympathizers who had been apprehended by Wild's soldiers so that they could not pass information to Lee's embattled troops.

Historians speculate the Confederate attack might have been designed to free them.

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