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

Battle of Big Bethel

Long-Term Consequences

 
 
Battle of Big Bethel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 28, 2017
1. Battle of Big Bethel Marker
Inscription.  Although Confederate Col. John B. Magruder and his forces won the Battle of Big Bethel, they could not stem the Federal tide for long. On June 15, 1861, within a week of the battle, a huge Sawyer rifled cannon mounted at Fort Calhoun (Fort Wool) on the Rip Raps, opened fire on the Confederate battery at Sewell's Point. Aeronaut John La Mountain began making ascensions in his hot air balloon Atlantic late in July, taking observations from as high as two thousand feet to improve the accuracy of the periodic shelling.

Magruder ordered Hampton evacuated and burned after he read a newspaper account of Gen. Benjamin F. Butler's intention to occupy and fortify the town and make it a haven for "runaway slaves." Soldiers and white residents burned it down on August 7. Butler did not fortify Hampton, but Magruder's fear was partially realized when Butler settled contrabands there in "Slabtown.”

On March 8, 1862, a new era in naval warfare began in Hampton Roads with the first clash of ironclad ships, USS Monitor and CSS Virginia, formerly USS Merrimac. Eleven days later, on March 17, Union Gen. George
Battle of Big Bethel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 28, 2017
2. Battle of Big Bethel Marker
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B. McClellan and his vast Army of the Potomac embarked in Alexandria and began steaming to Hampton. McClellan then launched the Peninsula Campaign to capture Richmond. The effort proved futile but initiated the great blood-letting that continued in eastern Virginia until 1865.

(captions)
Gen. George B. McClellan Courtesy Library of Congress
Sewell’s Point Battery, Harper’s Weekly, Nov. 2, 1861 — Library of Congress
Balloon reconnaissance of Confederate positions, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, Aug. 31, 1861
Army of the Potomac landing at Hampton, March 1862 — Library of Congress
Ruins of Hampton — Courtesy Library of Congress

 
Erected 2016 by Virginia Civil War Trails. (Marker Number 10.)
 
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 year for this entry is 1861.
 
Location. 37° 5.491′ N, 76° 25.561′ 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
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walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Battle of Big Bethel (here, next to 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); Battle of Big Bethel Union Monument (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); a different marker also named Battle of Big Bethel (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hampton Roads.
 
 
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 208 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 29, 2017, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.

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Apr. 12, 2021