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Williamsburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Battle of Williamsburg

The Bloody Ravine

 

—1862 Peninsula Campaign —

 
Battle of Williamsburg Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 10, 2008
1. Battle of Williamsburg Marker
Inscription. A critical part of the Battle of Williamsburg took place here on May 5, 1862. Union troops occupied the ridge to your right across present-day U.S. Route 60. The Confederate line of redoubts stood to your left on the ridge to the west. Felled timber on the ridge created clear fields of fire for the Confederates, and the intertwined branches (called abatis) obstructed the Federal attack. The railroad did not then exist, and this area was heavily wooded.

The battle began when Union Gen. George B.McClellan’s Army of the Potomac encountered the rear guard of Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s army retreating up the Peninsula toward Richmond. The Confederates intended to fight a delaying action, but it soon escalated into a major engagement. By 8 A.M., Union Gen. Joseph Hooker’s attack on Fort Magruder had spread to this position, and intense fighting against Confederate Gen. Cadmus M. Wilcox’s brigade occurred in this valley, which was later called the “bloody ravine.”

By midday, Confederate field commander Gen. James Longstreet had committed the reserves. Virginia regiments under Gens. A.P. Hill and George Pickett advanced from Redoubts 2, 3, and 4, near the modern hotels directly in front of you and forced the Federals back to where you are standing. At 3 P.M., Union Gen. Philip Kearny arrived with reinforcements
Marker on Pocahontas Trail image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 10, 2008
2. Marker on Pocahontas Trail
and the battle ended with both sides in approximately their original positions. The Confederates abandoned their redoubts that night and continued their withdrawal toward Richmond. McClellan wired Washington, “The victory is complete,” but Johnston later retorted, “Had the enemy beaten us on the fifth … our army would have lost most of its baggage and artillery.”
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 37° 15.594′ N, 76° 40.409′ W. Marker is in Williamsburg, Virginia. Marker is on Pocahontas Trail (U.S. 60), on the right when traveling east. Click for map. 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. Magruder’s Defenses (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Battle of Williamsburg (about 500 feet away); Peninsula Campaign (approx. 0.4 miles away); Quarterpath Road (approx. 0.4 miles away); History of Fort Magruder (approx. 0.4 miles away); Fort Magruder
Battle of Williamsburg Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 10, 2008
3. Battle of Williamsburg Marker
This location saw the most intense fighting during the May 5, 1862 battle in which the troops of Kearny and Hooker engaged the Confederate rear guard under Longstreet.
(approx. half a mile away); a different marker also named Fort Magruder (approx. half a mile away); Vineyard Tract (approx. half a mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Williamsburg.
 
More about this marker. The marker contains two pictures depicted by Alfred R. Waud. – Courtesy Library of Congress. The bottom left of the marker contains a picture of “Hooker’s division engaging at Williamsburg, from Union lines” and in a picture at the top of the marker, “Kearny leads reinforcements in the rain at Williamsburg.”
The top right of the marker features a battle map showing troop movements during the May 5, 1862 Battle of Williamsburg.
 
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 17, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

2. The Peninsula Campaign of 1862. (Submitted on August 17, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
3. Tidewater Virginia, The 1862 Peninsula Campaign. Civil War Traveler. (Submitted on August 17, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Battle Map from Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 10, 2008
4. Battle Map from Marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 2,741 times since then and 41 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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