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Newport News, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Skiffes Creek
The Defense of Mulberry Island

— 1862 Peninsula Campaign —
 
Skiffes Creek Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, August 11, 2008
1. Skiffes Creek Marker
 
Inscription. The redoubt before you is one of five earthworks built by the Confederates to help defend the Mulberry Island/James River flank of Maj. Gen. John Bankhead Magruder’s 2nd Peninsula Defensive Line. This series of redoubts (of which only two remain) stretched from Lee’s Mill on the Warwick River to Skiffes Creek, thereby blocking any Federal flanking movement by way of Mulberry Island or Skiffes Creek.

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
 
Skiffes Creek Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, August 11, 2008
2. Skiffes Creek Marker

 
Creek, were all supported by Fort Crawford. Fort Crawford was the largest earthwork within the 2nd Defensive Line. The fort covered 8 acres with inner walls almost 20 feet high and armed with 8 heavy cannon.

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); Battle of Lee’s Mill (approx. one mile away); Lee’s Mill (approx. one mile away); Fortification Design (approx. 1.1 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Newport News.
 
Markers in Marker is in Skiffes Creek Historic Park Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, August 11, 2008
3. Markers in Marker is in Skiffes Creek Historic Park
Several markers are found at this location. The Skiffes Creek marker is to the left in the photo.
 

 
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. (Submitted on August 17, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
2. Tidewater Virginia, The 1862 Peninsula Campaign. Civil War Traveler. (Submitted on August 17, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 
 
Skiffes Creek Historic Park Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, August 11, 2008
4. Skiffes Creek Historic Park
Skiffes Creek Historic Park preserves part of the Confederate Second Defensive Line on the Peninsula.
 
 
Confederate Second Line of Defense Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, August 11, 2008
5. Confederate Second Line of Defense
This earthwork was part of the Skiffes Creek Line, built to defend the Confederate Mulberry Island-James River flank during the 1862 Peninsula Campaign.
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on August 17, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,712 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 17, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.
 
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