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

Battle of Big Bethel

Hampton Roads in 1861

 
 
Battle of Big Bethel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 28, 2017
1. Battle of Big Bethel Marker
Inscription. Unlike at Fort Sumter in South Carolina, the U.S. Army held Fort Monroe and its environs too strongly for Confederate forces to overcome. Instead, the Confederates concentrated on attempting to control Hampton Roads and protect Norfolk, the major city in the area, and Portsmouth. The U.S. Navy evacuated the Norfolk Navy Yard in Portsmouth on April 20, 1861, destroying the yard and burning several ships as it departed, to deny the Confederates those resources. The U.S. Army consolidated its occupation of Fort Monroe and its immediate surroundings, establishing Camp Hamilton west of the fort near Hampton. To threaten Union shipping in the waterway, the Confederates began constructing a battery at Sewell's Point on the present-day naval base. The Federals continued work on Fort Calhoun (present-day Fort Wool) on the Rip Raps, where they eventually mounted a gun with sufficient range to shell Sewell's Point.

Civilians holding secessionist sympathies and caught within Union lines were permitted to leave. Many who were outside the lines at first but too close for comfort in Hampton and Newport News soon departed. Union Gen. Benjamin F. Butler ordered two thousand men to the latter place in May, and Camp Butler was established to augment Camp Hamilton and strengthen Federal control of the northern side of Hampton Roads. Inland, Confederate
Ruins of Norfolk Navy Yard image. Click for full size.
By James Gardner, December 1864
2. Ruins of Norfolk Navy Yard
Library of Congress LC-DIG-ppmsca-33851
Col. John B. Magruder prepared defensive works as Butler planned excursions west from Fort Monroe in preparation for bolder movements. Early in June, one such excursion resulted in the Battle of Big Bethel.

(captions)
Ruins of Norfolk Navy Yard – Courtesy Library of Congress
Hampton Roads, 1862 – Courtesy Library of Congress
“Flag of Truce,” Confederate sympathizers leaving Hampton Roads, 1861 – Courtesy Library of Congress
Camp Hamilton – Courtesy Library of Congress
 
Erected 2016 by Virginia Civil War Trails. (Marker Number 2.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 37° 5.497′ N, 76° 25.583′ W. Marker is 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. Touch for map. Located in Bethel Park. Marker is in this post office area: Hampton VA 23666, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of 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
Southeastern part of Virginia, from York River, and west to Black Water River image. Click for full size.
By B. Hove, 1862
3. Southeastern part of Virginia, from York River, and west to Black Water River
Library of Congress G3882.H3S5 1862 .H6
(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 (within shouting distance of 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); 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.
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Flag of Truce image. Click for full size.
By Alfred R. Waud, 1861
4. Flag of Truce
Library of Congress LC-DIG-ppmsca-21428
Camp Hamilton near Fortress Monroe, Va. image. Click for full size.
By George Stacy, 1861
5. Camp Hamilton near Fortress Monroe, Va.
Library of Congress LC-DIG-stereo-1s05279
Battle of Big Bethel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 28, 2017
6. Battle of Big Bethel Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 30, 2017. This page originally submitted on May 29, 2017, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 53 times since then. Photos:   1. submitted on May 29, 2017, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 30, 2017.   6. submitted on May 29, 2017, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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