Gillingham suffered their second away league defeat of the season against a strong Colchester side at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.
Mark Stimson continued with the starting eleven that triumphed over Swindon Town on opening day as his side looked for their first away points of the season.
Gillingham tested the home defence for the first time on four minutes as Miller sent Barcham away down the left wing however Marc Tierney was on hand to boot his cross to safety at the feet of Simeon Jackson.
At the other end former Gills loanee Kevin Lisbie weaved a path in on the right side of goal but his low shot was deflected behind. From the resulting corner Alan Julian hesitated on the line allowing David Fox to shoot, fortunately the Gills were able to hack it off the line to safety.
The visitors took an eleventh minute lead after a quick one-two between Barcham and Nutter allowed the full back to cross low across the face of goal and Curtis Weston was on hand to poke it home.
Four minutes later it could have been two as Nutter's corner found Josh Gowling at the far post but Kem Izzet rose well to head it out from under the crossbar.
In the 28th minute a loose ball found it's way to Lisbie who tried his luck from distance but could not cut his low drive inside the near post. Then moments later at the other end Barcham raced to the touchline and pulled back for Miller whose drive from just outside the box rocketed over the bar.
The frantic pace showed no sign of abating as Gillingham cleared a left wing free kick straight to Ashley Vincent who crashed a ferocious volley aginst Alan Julians left hand stanchion.
After 35 minutes great persistance down the right flank presented Adam Miller with a half chance on the right of the box but again he pulled his shot high and wide.
The equaliser arrived three minutes later as Kevin Lisbie robbed Josh Gowling deep in the visitors half and laid off for Scott Vernon to plant his finish beyond Julian and into the bottom corner.
The second half began in similarly manic fashion with Colchester pressuring the Gills goal and Andy Barcham causing trouble for the home side down the left flank.
Clear cut chances were few and far between though until shortly after the hour mark when John Nutter swung an inviting free kick into the box which narrowly evaded Gowling and Richards much to the centre half's frustration.
In the 65th minute Barcham shrugged off the challenge of Beevers and danced into the U's box once again only to lose possession before he could get a shot away.
Then at the other end Colchester took the lead for the first time in the match, Scott Vernon played in Kevin Lisbie who powered a rising drive across Julian and into the top left corner.
Five minutes later the U's nearly struck again as Simon Hackney fired a wicked cross in from the right and Lisbie shook off Richards to head inches over the bar.
The second goal seemed to unsettle Gillingham and the home side seemed destined to increase their lead as first Fox went close with a deflected free kick that fell fortunately for Julian before Ashley Vincent blasted over with the goal at his mercy.
In the 83rd minute the Gills were awarded a free-kick 25 yards out, Adam Miller shot for goal but the midfielders low effort was well wide of the far post.
A minute from time Simon Hackney forced Julian into a stunning reflex save to block his well struck curling free-kick.
Gillingham's last throw of the dice was a deep Nutter throw-on late in injury time, it was flicked on to Adam Miller but he hooked a desperate effort wide at the near post.
Gillingham: Alan Julian, Barry Fuller, Garry Richards, Josh Gowling, John Nutter, Mark Bentley (85 Jacob Erskine), Adam Miller, Jack Payne, Curtis Weston, Andy Barcham, Simeon Jackson
Subs not used: Simon Royce, Kevin Maher, Chris Palmer, Tom Wynter, Luke Rooney, Mark McCammon
Colchester United: Ben Williams, Lee Beevers, Magnus Okuonghae, Pat Baldwin, Ashley Vincent (81 Joel Thomas), Ken Izzet, Simon Hackney (90 David Perkins), David Fox, Kevin Lisbie, (90+2 Anthony Wordsworth) Marc Tierney, Scott Vernon.
Subs not used: Alan Maybury, Mark Cousins, Gary Holt, Russell Malton