Union Major General Benjamin F Butler’s Army of the James crossed the James River during the early morning hours of September 29th 1864, to assault the Richmond defenses. The Union troops had early success at the Battle of New Market Heights [aka Battle of Chaffin‘s Farm]. Black troops from the Eleventh Corps were heavily engaged here, with fourteen receiving the Medal of Honor for Valor. Then the Confederates pulled together and contained the breakthrough. General Robert E Lee reinforced his line north of the James River and counterattacked on September 30th 1864. After two days of fighting and about 5000 casualties, the Union forces entrenched, and the Confederates moved into a new line of work. As General Ulysses S Grant planned Lee shifted his troops to meet this threat to Richmond, thus weakening his line at Petersburg.