Newport News, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The Defense of Mulberry Island
—1862 Peninsula Campaign —
Until the emergence of the powerful ironclad ram CSS Virginia (Merrimack), Magruder had been concerned about his small force’s ability to effectively fortify its James River flank. He wrote Gen. Robert E. Lee in early 1862 that he could “only hope that Yorktown and Mulberry Island will be made impregnable, else the Peninsula and perhaps Virginia overrun.”
The fortifications constructed throughout Mulberry Island (actually a peninsula jutting into the James River bounded by the Warwick River and Skiffes Creek) are a good example of Magruder’s extensive effort to defend this invasion route to Richmond. Despite being plagued by a lack of troops and artillery, Magruder’s troops, supported by as many as 600 to 1,000 slaves a day, built extensive fortifications throughout Mulberry Island. Entrenchments at Land’s End and Brick House Creek, as well as batteries at Mulberry Island Point and redoubts near Skiffes
Magruder considered the fortifications on Mulberry Island capable of withstanding a month-long siege; however, these earthworks did not play a major role in the Warwick River – Yorktown Siege because of the Virginia’s (Merrimack) ability to block the James River to Union use. The Mulberry Island and Skiffes Creek fortifications were abandoned on May 3, 1862, when the Confederate army began its retreat towards Richmond.
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 37° 10.653′ N, 76° 34.544′ W. Marker is in Newport News, Virginia. Marker is on Enterprise Drive, on the left when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is in Skiffes Creek Historic Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 22 Enterprise Drive, Newport News VA 23603, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within one mile of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Stanley Hundred (a few steps from this marker); Balthrope (a few steps from this marker); Mulberry Point (approx. 0.4 miles away); Fort Eustis (approx. 0.4 miles away); Lee’s Mill Earthworks (approx. 0.9 miles away); Glebe Lands (approx. one mile away); Battle of Lee’s Mill (approx. one mile away); Lee’s Mill (approx. one mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Newport News.
Regarding Skiffes Creek. The top of the marker contains a “ Fort Crafford, drawing by Sidney E. King. Courtesy of Fort Eustis Archaeological and Historical Association.”
Also see . . .
1. The Peninsula Campaign.
2. Tidewater Virginia, The 1862 Peninsula Campaign. Civil War Traveler.
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page originally submitted on August 17, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 2,066 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 17, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.