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Williamsburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Redoubt 1
Engineers Debate the Williamsburg Line

— 1862 Peninsula Campaign —
 
Redoubt 1 Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, August 10, 2008
1. Redoubt 1 Marker
 
Inscription. Because Lt. Col. Benjamin S. Ewell had made little progress on the Williamsburg defenses by late June 1861, Gen. John B. Magruder, commanding the Army of the Peninsula, replaced him with Gen. Lafayette McLaws. Capt. Alfred L. Rives, acting chief of the Engineer Bureau in Richmond and an 1848 graduate of Virginia Military Institute, disliked Ewell’s concept of a defense based on interlocking redoubts (detached fortifications linked by rifle pits) but gave in. He later wrote that when “one redoubt is carried … the troops cease to have confidence in the whole line and the defense … is most defective.” He also found Ewell’s proposed line, which ran north from College Creek through Williamsburg, would have required leveling part of the town to clear fields of fire. Rives suggested a line east of town to take advantage of terrain features. Ewell thought it too long, requiring too many men to defend it. Magruder, a West Point trained engineer like Ewell and McLaws, agreed with Rives’s choice of location and ordered McLaws to begin work on July 9, 1861.

Soldiers and impressed slaves constructed the line, beginning here with Redoubt 1 and continuing four miles across the Peninsula to Redoubt 14 at Cub Run Creek. The redoubts stood 600 to 800 yards apart, with the largest, Fort Magruder (Redoubt 6), in the center guarding
 
Marker in in Redoubt Park Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, August 10, 2008
2. Marker in in Redoubt Park
 
the Williamsburg Road. Cleared fields of fire, rifle pits and abatis (felled trees with sharpened branches pointing toward the enemy) fronted each redoubt. Redoubt 1, one of the largest fortifications, mounted three artillery pieces behind a mile-long ravine overlooking Tutter’s Mill Pond, a tributary of College Creek, and Quarterpath Road. The line was unfinished when the Federals began marching up the Peninsula on April 4, 1862.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 37° 15.258′ N, 76° 41.15′ W. Marker is in Williamsburg, Virginia. Marker can be reached from Quarterpath Road, on the left when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is located in Redoubt Park on Quarterpath Road in Williamsburg. Marker is in this post office area: Williamsburg VA 23185, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Battle of Williamsburg (within shouting distance of this marker); Defending the Peninsula (within shouting distance of this marker); Williamsburg in the Civil War (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Quarterpath Road (approx. ¼ mile away); History of Fort Magruder (approx. 0.7 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Williamsburg (approx. 0.8 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Williamsburg (approx. 0.8 miles away); Magruder’s Defenses (approx. 0.8 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Williamsburg.
 
Redoubt 1 Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, August 10, 2008
3. Redoubt 1 Marker
 

 
More about this marker. The marker contains photographs of Gen. John B. Magruder and Gen. Lafayette McLaws, Courtesy of Library of Congress, and of Benjamin S. Ewell, Courtesy of the Museum of the Confederacy. Also on the marker is a picture of Ft. Magruder and other Williamsburg redoubts from Battles and Leaders and a map of the Williamsburg Line fortifications.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Markers on the walking trail of Williamsburg’s Redoubt Park.
 
Also see . . .
1. Battle of Williamsburg, 5 May 1862. Williamsburg was the first large battlefield encounter between Union and Confederate forces during the Peninsula Campaign of 1862. (Submitted on August 20, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

2. The Peninsula Campaign of 1862. (Submitted on August 20, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
3. Tidewater Virginia, The 1862 Peninsula Campaign. Civil War Traveler. (Submitted on August 20, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 
 
Earthworks near the Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, August 10, 2008
4. Earthworks near the Marker
This is an example of the earthworks located in the vicinity of the marker.
 
 
Redoubt 1 Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, August 10, 2008
5. Redoubt 1
The walls of Redoubt 1 can be seen in this photo behind the marker.
 
 
Williamsburg Redoubt Park Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin
6. Williamsburg Redoubt Park
This park on Quarterpath Road contains a walking path that traverses the Confederate fortifications of the "Williamsburg Line." Several Civil War Trails signs are found along the path.
 
 
Williamsburg Line Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, August 10, 2008
7. Williamsburg Line
The map on the marker shows the locations of each of the Confederate redoubts that made up the Williamsburg Line.
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on August 20, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 2,407 times since then. Last updated on October 15, 2014, by Peter Jones of Williamsburg, VA - Virginia. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on August 20, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
 
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