Historic Fort Huger
The Civil War Trails program has installed more than 1,000 interpretive markers at Civil War sites in Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, West Virginia and North Carolina. Driving tours following major campaigns have been created, and a series of regional brochures is available. Download versions of the maps from CivilWarTraveler.com/maps.
Fort Huger is a strategic Civil War fort located on a bluff overlooking the James River. This fort, along with Fort Boykin, was established to block the approach by land and river to the Confederate capital in Richmond. Self-guided tours of the fort provide a view of the James River's ghost fleet.
In 1861, Confederate engineer Col. Andrew Talcott surveyed several defensive sites on the James River to protect Richmond, including Harden's Bluff and nearby Fort Boykin. The site at Harden's Bluff was named Fort Huger for Gen. Benjamin Huger, who commanded the Department of Norfolk. Slaves and free blacks constructed the fort under direction of the Confederate Engineer Bureau, and detachments of Lt. Col. Fletcher Archer's 5th Virginia Infantry Battalion were posted here.
Isle of Wight County restored and interpreted this fort and opened it to the public in 2007.
Fort Huger is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Virginia Landmarks Register, Virginia Civil Wars Trail, Captain John Smith's Trail: Lower Oyster Loop and Cornell eBird System.
On May 8, 146 years later, over 150 people braved the cloudy skies to celebrate the dedication of Isle of Wight County's newest historic attraction. The ceremony included official statements by local dignitaries and historian, John Quarstein, a color guard presented by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Smithfield Post 8545, as well as music by violinist Karen Stowe and period music by Bob Zentz.
Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Stan Clark delighted the crowd by announcing that the county had just received notice from the National Park Service that the fort is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Chairman Clark also recognized the invaluable dedication and commitment of the many volunteers who worked to bring this significant historic project to fruition.
The ceremony ended with a three-gun salute by Stribblings Battery and was followed by a lovely catered reception. General Robert E. Lee (presented by reenactor David Palmer) was on hand to entertain visitors and two of General Huger's descendants, Benjamin Huger and his aunt Penny Huger, traveled from North Carolina to join in the momentous day.
Further information on the history of Fort Huger and a map to the site can be found at the Smithfield & Isle of Wight Visitors Center located at 335 Main Street in Historic Downtown Smithfield
Fort Huger is located off Rt. 10 at 15080 Talcott Terrace & is open daily 8:00 a.m. - dusk.
1st Virginia Volunteer Infantry Unit
from Flagstaff, Arizona
visits Fort Huger in April of 2008
These living historians were visiting Isle of Wight for the reenactment of the Battle of Chancellorsville. While here, they stopped by Fort Huger and were photographed by local photographer David Sawyer (757-357-4428). For more photos visit their website at: 1st Virginia Volunteer Infantry Unit, Flagstaff, Arizona
Video of General Robert E. Lee explaining the General's involvement at Fort Huger.
(portrayed by reenactor David Palmer)
For further information on Fort Huger you can also call
the department of Historic Resources at (757) 357-0115.
Smithfield & Isle of Wight CVB Staff:
Judy Hare Winslow, Director of Tourism
Lois Chapman Tokarz, Marketing & Public Relations Manager
Terry Rhinier, Event Coordinator
Deborah Marshall, Visitor Center Manager
Kathy Mountjoy, Group Tour Coordinator
Cheryl Ketcham, Farmer's Market Manager