Fort Harrison represented the strongest point on the Confederate line of defenses. From it, one could see all the way to the James River. However, in 1864 most of the Confederate forces were in Petersburg and here the Confederate defenders numbered barely 200. The Union attack pierced the fort quickly, with relatively few casualties.
On September 30, Robert E. Lee personally organized a major effort to recapture the lost fort. His attack also lacked coordination, and the well prepared Union defenders-some of them armed with multiple shot weapons crushed the Confederate effort and inflicted great loss on the attackers.