Gloucester Point in Gloucester County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Where North Meets South
Virginia Fortifies Gloucester Point
Eighty years after the decisive events at Yorktown, a major war again came to Gloucester Point. This time it was a civil war. As Virginia joined the Confederacy in April, 1861, its leaders were soon defending the Chesapeake tidewater. Within days, the first shots of the war in Virginia were fired at Gloucester Point by Union gunboats.
The new Confederate armed forces were rich in engineering talent. General Robert E. Lee sent naval Captain William S. Whittle and Gloucester native Commander Thomas Jefferson Page to secure the entrances to both the York and James Rivers. Engineer Captain Charles H. Dimmock was set to work shoring up the defenses on Gloucester Point.
You are standing in the remains of the largest fort ever built here on the Point. By early 1862, Captain Dimmock, using slave labor, had thrown up this enormous earthwork to protect the land side from attack. Nearby, right at the Point, a 100 yard long and 75 yardwide earthen water
New Forts with Old Principles
Civil War forts were built with guidelines that went back to 17th-century France. With the advent of artillery, the Marquis de Vauban revolutionized warfare by building forts that had low profiles, interior protection from plunging fire and deep defenses with guns that hit the enemy from every angle. As you walk through these remains, imagine where you would have placed artillery to defend the Point.
Erected by Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Forts and Castles • War, US Civil. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1861.
Location. 37° 14.992′ N, 76° 30.131′ W. Marker is in Gloucester Point, Virginia, in Gloucester County. Marker can be reached from Vernon Street near Riverview Street. The marker is on the Tyndall’s Point Park Walkway. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1376 Vernon Street, Gloucester Point VA 23062, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. On to Richmond! (here, next to this marker); Classic Camp Life (within shouting distance of this marker); The British Safety Valve (within shouting distance of this marker); Still Defending Virginia’s ShoresGloucester Point (within shouting distance of this marker); Attacking with “Decisive Vigor” (within shouting distance of this marker); A Vital British Outpost at Gloucester Point (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Gloucester Point (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gloucester Point.
Regarding Where North Meets South. On the upper left are plans for the star fort at the Point with the caption, "Confederate Engineer, Charles H. Dimmock, designed a classic "Vauban" style fort with five bastions to provide a field of fire in all directions." Courtesy of the Library of Congress and the "Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies"
On the lower right is an artist rendering of naval activity at the Point with the caption, "From the first days of the Civil War, heavily defended Gloucester Point and Yorktown became the targets of Union Gunboats." Courtesy of the Virginia Historical Society
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on May 7, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 918 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on May 7, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 8, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.