Yorktown in York County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The Frowning Fortress of York
—1862 Peninsula Campaign —
“It did not seem possible that both armies could gather inspiration from the historic memories that cluster around this memorable field. The traditions of the revolution lingered here awakening in all loyal breasts sincerest hopes for the future.” - Eugene Nash, 44th New York Volunteers
The trench line to your right is all that remains of a formidable line of Confederate earthworks that once blocked this historic road and the Union army’s advance westward past Yorktown in 1862. The Confederate defensive works surrounding Yorktown, which could be seen from this spot in 1862, still exist in a relatively untouched state.
On April 5, 1862, the Army of the Potomac’s 3rd Corps advanced against Yorktown along the York-Hampton Road, hoping for a victory to end the Civil War as Gen. George Washington’s victory here 81 years earlier had ended the American Revolution. They traveled the same road British forces in 1781 had walked out of Yorktown on to surrender to Washington’s army.
With projections of over 100,000 troops holding the Confederate’s massive earthworks, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, USA, decided to besiege Yorktown. While minor skirmishing and engagements between field batteries occurred almost daily, most of the Union army’s efforts were on building siege works. By May 3 more heavy artillery
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 37° 13.417′ N, 76° 30.85′ W. Marker is in Yorktown, Virginia, in York County. Marker is at the intersection of Goosley Road (Virginia Route 238) and Historical Tour Drive, on the right when traveling east on Goosley Road. Click for map. The marker is within the borders of the Yorktown Unit of Colonial National Historical Park. Marker is in this post office area: Yorktown VA 23690, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Mary Aggie And The Benefit Of Clergy (here, next to this marker); Outer Works (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The “NECK” (approx. 0.3 miles away); Grand French Battery (approx. 0.4 miles away); Shiloh Baptist Church (approx. 0.4 miles away); a different marker also named The Grand French Battery (approx. 0.4 miles away); First Allied Siege Line (approx. 0.4 miles away); Yorktown National Cemetery (approx. half a mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Yorktown.
More about this marker. The right side of the marker contains a war-time photograph of “Rebel fortifications at Yorktown – Courtesy of Vermont Historical Society.” Also at the bottom right is a photograph of Maj. Gen. Daniel Harvey Hill, CSA.
Also see . . .
1. Yorktown in the Civil War. Yorktown Battlefield, National Park Service. (Submitted on August 18, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
2. Tidewater Virginia, The 1862 Peninsula Campaign. Civil War Traveler. (Submitted on August 18, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • Notable Places • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 2,782 times since then and 119 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 2. submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. 3, 4. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.