Williamsburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
— 1862 Peninsula Campaign —
Confederate Gen. John B. Magruder intended to use the Williamsburg Line if forced to abandon the Warwick-Yorktown Line. When Gen. Joseph E. Johnston assumed command of the Confederate forces blocking Union Gen. George B. McClellan’s advance from Fort Monroe toward Richmond, however, Johnston ignored the line and ordered a retreat up the Peninsula to the Confederate capital. On the evening of May 3, 1862, the Confederates withdrew from the Warwick-Yorktown defenses in heavy rain and on muddy roads. When McClellan realized that the fortifications had been abandoned, he sent Gen. Edwin V. Sumner in pursuit. The Confederate rear guard, Gen. James Longstreet’s division, had to slow the Federals and allow the Confederate artillery and wagon trains to advance toward Richmond.
Gen. J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry watched for pursuing Federal troops. On May 4, cavalry engagements occurred
Stuart concentrated his strength on the Confederate left under Lt. Col. W.C. Wickham’s 4th Virginia Cavalry, which clashed with Union Gen. George Stoneman’s cavalry, including four batteries of horse artillery, along the Yorktown Road. Philip St. George Cooke, Stuart’s father-in-law, commanded a Federal battery. When Stoneman detached Gen. William H. Emory to cut off a portion of the Confederate cavalry, Stuart and his horsemen became separated from the Southern forces. Stuart rode along the beach on the James River and then galloped up Quarterpath Road to rejoin the Confederate army.
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Notable Events • Notable Places • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical date for this entry is May 3, 1797.
Location. 37° 15.446′ N, 76° 40.988′ W. Marker is in Williamsburg, Virginia. Marker Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Williamsburg VA 23185, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Williamsburg in the Civil War (approx. 0.2 miles away); Defending the Peninsula (approx. ¼ mile away); Redoubt 1 (approx. ¼ mile away); Battle of Williamsburg (approx. 0.3 miles away); History of Fort Magruder (approx. 0.4 miles away); Peninsula Campaign (approx. half a mile away); a different marker also named The Battle of Williamsburg (approx. half a mile away); a different marker also named Quarterpath Road (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Williamsburg.
More about this marker. The marker contains photographs of Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, courtesy of the Museum of the Confederacy, and Gen. George Stoneman, courtesy Library of Congress. The bottom left of the marker features a picture of “The Union army ‘splashing and bogging … in a river of mud’ up the Peninsula, from Official and Illustrated War Record. The bottom right features battle map showing troop positions.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Markers on the walking trail of Williamsburg’s Redoubt Park.
Also see . . .
1. Battle of Williamsburg, 5 May 1862. Williamsburg was the first large battlefield encounter between Union and Confederate forces during the Peninsula Campaign of 1862. (Submitted on August 20, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.)
2. The Peninsula Campaign of 1862. (Submitted on August 20, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.)
3. Tidewater Virginia, The 1862 Peninsula Campaign. Civil War Traveler. (Submitted on August 20, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on August 20, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,816 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on August 20, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.