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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Charles City in Charles City County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Westover

McClellan’s New Base

 

—1862 Peninsula Campaign —

 
Westover CWT Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 29, 2010
1. Westover CWT Marker
Inscription. Following the last of the Seven Days' Battles on July 1, 1862, at Malvern Hill, Gen. George B. McClellan's Union Army of the Potomac continued its retreat to the James River. McClellan had earlier decided to "change his base" from the Pamunkey River to the James and had chosen the Harrison's Landing (Berkeley Plantation) and Westover area as his new base. From then until final evacuation to Fort Monroe on August 16, the 90,000-man army largely remained within its defensive fortifications, further protected by Union gunboats in the river. At first, elements of Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia probed for a weak spot to attack. Finding none, they settled for keeping an eye on the Federals.

While encamped at Berkeley, Union Gen. Daniel Butterfield of V Corps and a bugler, Pvt. Oliver W. Norton, reworked the last few bars of the “lights out” call into what became known as “Taps.” On July 8, President Abraham Lincoln arrived there by steamboat for a one-day visit, conferred with McClellan, and reviewed the troops.

Westover served as the headquarters of McClellan’s protégé, Gen. Fitz John Porter. Just after midnight on August 1, 41 pieces of Confederate artillery at Coggins Point across the river fired on the gunboats and the Union encampment around the house. McClellan reported 25
Seven Days' Battles map image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 29, 2010
2. Seven Days' Battles map
casualties. It may have been at this time that the eastern flanking building at Westover - the library - was destroyed by fire. Later that day, a Union party occupied Coggins Point, which the Confederates had abandoned.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 37° 18.652′ N, 77° 9.065′ W. Marker is near Charles City, Virginia, in Charles City County. Marker can be reached from Westover Road (Virginia Route 633) 2.1 miles east of Harrison Landing Road. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Charles City VA 23030, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Westover Plantation (here, next to this marker); Richmond Condita (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Evelynton (approx. 1.4 miles away); Benjamin Harrison (approx. 1.5 miles away); Capt. John Woodliffe (approx. 1.6 miles away); Origin of Taps (approx. 1.6 miles away); First Official Thanksgiving (approx. 1.6 miles away); Berkeley and Harrison's Landing (approx. 1.7 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Charles City.
 
More about this marker. In the upper center is a
Westover Markers (facing downriver) image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 29, 2010
3. Westover Markers (facing downriver)
watercolor of Westover with the caption, "Built circa 1730 by William Byrd II, the brick mansion at Westover is considered to be one of the most outstanding examples of Georgian architecture in the country. Byrd, who is credited with founding Richmond, is buried on the property. This stylized illustration was made by Robert Knox Sneden, who was with the Union army during the Peninsula Campaign." Illustration courtesy of the Virginia Historical Society.

On the right is a map of Civil War sites related to the the Seven Days' Battles and a portrait of "Gen. Fitz John Porter."
 
Also see . . .  Westover. NPS James River Plantations (Submitted on April 29, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicNotable BuildingsNotable PlacesWar, US Civil
 
Westover Markers (facing upriver) image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 29, 2010
4. Westover Markers (facing upriver)
Westover north (land) side image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 29, 2010
5. Westover north (land) side
Westover south (river) side image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 29, 2010
6. Westover south (river) side
Tomb of William Byrd II image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 29, 2010
7. Tomb of William Byrd II
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 883 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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