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Hampton Roads in Hampton, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Battle of Big Bethel

Combatants’ Stories

 
 
Battle of Big Bethel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 28, 2017
1. Battle of Big Bethel Marker
Inscription.  The Battle of Big Bethel was, for most of the participants, their first experience with warfare. Officers and enlisted men on both sides often wrote of details that in fights to come would not merit a mention.

Union Gen. Ebenezer W. Pierce, the excursion's commander, prefaced his report with extracts from his notes taken at the planning meeting—apparently an exercise in micromanagement: "Duryea to push out two pickets … on the county road, but not so far as to alarm the enemy. This is important. … March to be rapid, but not hurried. … If we capture the Little Bethel men, push on to Big Bethel and similarly capture them. Burn up both the Bethels. Blow up, if brick.”

Confederate Maj. George W. Randolph, Richmond Howitzers, complained of "serious defects" in his fuses: "The shell of the Parrott gun have a fixed wooden fuse … the shortest being cut for four seconds. … The shells burst far in the rear of the enemy and served merely as solid shot.”

Union Capt. H. Judson Kilpatrick, 5th New York Infantry, wrote that a grapeshot "tore off a portion of the rectangle on Colonel Duryea's left shoulder,
George W. Randolph image. Click for full size.
circa 1860
2. George W. Randolph
Library of Congress LC-USZ62-76628
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passed through my leg, and killed a soldier in my rear.”

Confederate Capt. William H. Werth, Virginia Volunteers, reported that a Federal wandered over to him in the dark, and "I had the pleasure of taking him prisoner. He had a fine minie musket, accouterments, and forty-five rounds of cartridges.”

(captions)
Maj. George W. Randolph Courtesy Library of Congress
Unidentified soldier in Richmond Howitzers uniform. Courtesy Library of Congress
Pvt. Louis A. Matos, Co. C, 5th New York Infantry Courtesy Library of Congress
5th New York Infantry attacking Confederate battery at Big Bethel Courtesy Library of Congress
 
Erected 2016 by Virginia Civil War Trails. (Marker Number 7.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical date for this entry is June 10, 1861.
 
Location. 37° 5.497′ N, 76° 25.553′ W. Marker is in Hampton Roads in Hampton, Virginia. Marker can be reached from Big Bethel Road (Virginia Route 600) 0.1 miles north of Semple Farm Road, on the left when traveling north. Located in Bethel Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Hampton VA 23666, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Battle of Big Bethel
Unidentified soldier in Richmond Howitzers uniform image. Click for full size.
By Charles R. Reese, circa 1861
3. Unidentified soldier in Richmond Howitzers uniform
Library of Congress LC-DIG-ppmsca-33348
(a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Battle of Big Bethel (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Battle of Big Bethel (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Battle of Big Bethel (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Battle of Big Bethel (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Battle of Big Bethel (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Battle of Big Bethel (within shouting distance of this marker); Battle of Big Bethel Union Monument (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hampton Roads.
 
Private Louis A. Matos of Co. C, 5th New York Infantry Regiment in Union Zouave uniform image. Click for full size.
circa 1861
4. Private Louis A. Matos of Co. C, 5th New York Infantry Regiment in Union Zouave uniform
Library of Congress LC-DIG-ppmsca-38372
Federal troops driving the rebels from one of their batteries at Great Bethel image. Click for full size.
By Alfred R. Waud, June 10, 1861
5. Federal troops driving the rebels from one of their batteries at Great Bethel
Library of Congress LC-DIG-ppmsca-20190
Battle of Big Bethel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 28, 2017
6. Battle of Big Bethel Marker
Battle of Big Bethel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 28, 2017
7. Battle of Big Bethel Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 30, 2017. It was originally submitted on May 29, 2017, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 241 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on May 29, 2017, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.   2, 3. submitted on May 30, 2017.   4. submitted on May 30, 2017, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.   5. submitted on May 30, 2017.   6, 7. submitted on May 29, 2017, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.

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Apr. 12, 2021