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

Siege of Suffolk

Bacon for the Confederacy

 
 
Siege of Suffolk CWT Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 18, 2009
1. Siege of Suffolk CWT Marker
Inscription. The monument before you was erected in 1889 by Col. Thomas W. Smith in honor of his Confederate “comrades.” Smith had served as a 2nd Lt. in the local unit, “Marion Rangers,” which was assigned as Co. A, 16th Virginia Infantry, Mahone’s Brigade, during the Civil War.

The town of Suffolk was of considerable strategic importance during the Civil War. On May 12, 1862, Col. Charles C. Dodge’s 1st New York Mounted Rifles rode into Suffolk and began the Union occupation that would last throughout the war. Mayor Benjamin Riddick surrendered the town to Dodge with the assurance that peaceable citizens’ rights would be protected. Additional Federal troops from Camp Butler, under the command of Brig. Gen. J.K.F. Mansfield, quickly moved into Suffolk as local Confederate troops withdrew west to the Blackwater River.

When the Union IX Corps reinforced Fort Monroe in February 1863, Robert E. Lee countered by sending Lt. Gen. James Longstreet with the divisions of John Bell Hood, George Pickett and Samuel French to the Tidewater region to block any possible advance against Richmond via Petersburg from Suffolk. It was Longstreet’s first independent command. After an unsuccessful expedition in North Carolina, Longstreet began his operations against Maj. Gen. J.J. Peck’s 15,000-man force in Suffolk on April
CWT Marker in front of the Confederate Monument. image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 18, 2009
2. CWT Marker in front of the Confederate Monument.
11, 1863. The Confederates drove the Federals into their fortifications and began erecting their outer ring of earthworks around the town. Longstreet believed that Suffolk could be captured in a few days but felt that the Confederates could not “afford to spend the powder and ball” or spare the men to hold onto it. During the following weeks, Peck’s force was reinforced to 29,000 men and the Federal gunboats blocked any Confederate advance across the Nansemond River. The siege was a series of skirmishes between the opposing forces highlighted by the Union capture of Fort Huger on the Western Branch of the Nansemond River.

Longstreet abandoned the siege on May 4, 1863, to help Lee defend against Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker’s move towards Richmond. Even though the siege was unable to dislodge the Union control of Suffolk, it was considered a success since the Confederates were able to forage valuable supplies from the surrounding rich countryside and contain any Federal Southside advance against Richmond.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 36° 44.098′ N, 76° 34.745′ W. Marker is in Suffolk, Virginia. Marker can be reached
Monument to the Confederate Dead image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 18, 2009
3. Monument to the Confederate Dead
from Mahan Street 0.2 miles east of North Main Street. Click for map. The CWT marker is located in Cedar Hill Cemetery. Marker is at or near this postal address: 105 Mahan Street, Suffolk VA 23434, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within one mile of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Riddick’s Folly (approx. ¼ mile away); The Site of the First Church (approx. 0.3 miles away); First Suffolk Church (approx. 0.3 miles away); Early History of Suffolk (approx. 0.3 miles away); Mr. Peanut (approx. 0.7 miles away); Booker T. Washington High School (approx. 0.7 miles away); Nansemond Collegiate Institute (approx. 0.9 miles away); a different marker also named Siege of Suffolk (approx. one mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Suffolk.
 
More about this marker. In the center are photographs of three Confederate Generals: “Maj. Gen. John Bell Hood”, “Lt. Gen. James Longstreet”, and “Maj. Gen. George Pickett”. Photos courtesy of The Museum of the Confederacy.
 
Also see . . .
1. SCV Tom Smith Camp #1702. Col. Thomas W. Smith (Submitted on April 20, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 

2. Cincinnati Civil War Round Table. "Pork Belly Politics or How Longstreet Brought
Confederate Dead image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 18, 2009
4. Confederate Dead
(front) Erected by Thos W. Smith in memory of his comrades.

(side) This shaft on which we carve no name, shall guide Virginia's youth - a sign-post on the road to fame, to honor and to truth.

A silent sentry, it shall stand to guard thro' coming time their graves who died for native land and duty most sublime.

(side) With shouts above the battle's roar they join the legions gone before; they bravely fought, they bravely fell, they wore the Gray and wore it well.

(rear) 1861-1889.
Home the Bacon: James Longstreet and the Suffolk Campaign" by Thomas L. Breiner, Sept 16, 1999 (Submitted on April 22, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 

3. Civil War Traveler - Tidewater Virginia - More Sites. Suffolk. Siege of Suffolk. (Submitted on May 18, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Zinc cast or "white bronze" gives this figure its distinctive blue-gray color. image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 18, 2009
5. Zinc cast or "white bronze" gives this figure its distinctive blue-gray color.
SCV plaque image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 18, 2009
6. SCV plaque
UDC plaque image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 18, 2009
7. UDC plaque
Nearby grave of Col. Thomas W. Smith image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 18, 2009
8. Nearby grave of Col. Thomas W. Smith
Thomas W. Smith
June 1, 1832
May 9, 1912
Company A 16th Va. Infantry
C.S.A.
Mahone’s Brigade
Lt. Col. 4th Regt. Va. Volunteers
Grand Commander Va
Brigade Commander
United Confederate Veterans
Union Battery Stevens image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 18, 2009
9. Union Battery Stevens
View from Battery Stevens opposite Fort Huger image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 18, 2009
10. View from Battery Stevens opposite Fort Huger
Confederate Hill's Point Battery (Fort Huger) image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 18, 2009
11. Confederate Hill's Point Battery (Fort Huger)
View from Fort Huger opposite Battery Stevens image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 18, 2009
12. View from Fort Huger opposite Battery Stevens
View of Nansemond River from Fort Huger image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher
13. View of Nansemond River from Fort Huger
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,259 times since then and 173 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   8. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   9, 10, 11, 12, 13. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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