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The James River

The stand at Fort Pocahontas helped preserve the union line of communication from the mouth of the James to U.S. Grant's base at City Point, just outside Richmond.


Fort Pocahontas is situated on the north bank of the James River with access to Norfolk to the east (left) and Richmond to the west (right). The river was used by Native Americans, and then by English and American property owners beginning in 1635 when the first land patent was issued. Throughout the 18th century this wharf was the site of a tobacco inspection warehouse.

Today you can still see the remains of the massive steamship wharf located at the center of the fort.


At the time of the war Wilson's Landing was said to be the highest and most prominent point on the river, elevated about 50 feet above the river. In May 1864 Union forces under General Butler advanced up the James River en route to Richmond and established an important communication line along the river. This communication was achieved by telegraphing army signals with flags and flaming torches through a line of cleared trees.

Reenactors can camp on the high bluffs of the James River in the interior of the fort.


 

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