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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Hampton, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Battle of Big Bethel

Changing Landscape

 
 
Battle of Big Bethel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 28, 2017
1. Battle of Big Bethel Marker
Inscription. In the spring of 1862, Union Gen. George B. McClellan led his 100,000-man Army of the Potomac west from Hampton past Big Bethel in a campaign to capture Richmond. The battlefield of June 9, 1861, soon faded into obscurity.

Little remains of the Big Bethel Battlefield today; this is the last publicly accessible segment. The U.S. Army flooded Brick Kiln Creek in the 1890s to provide drinking water for Fort Monroe. Many key portions of the battlefield, including the church site and most of the Confederate fortifications, are submerged beneath Big Bethel Reservoir.

In 1916, the National Advisory Council for Aeronautics searched for a site for a new airfield and proving ground for Army and Navy aircraft and determined that a location five miles east of here was ideal: near water, flat, and in an area sparsely populated for take-offs, landings, and expansion. The new proving ground was named for aviation pioneer Samuel P. Langley. In the years that followed, the growth of the airfield, Hampton, and Newport News profoundly changed this rural landscape.

Today, Langley Air Force Base occupies much of the remaining battleground, and housing covers the site where Maj. Theodore Winthrop made the final Union assault. A store was built where Lt. John Greble was killed. The first monuments, the obelisk and the marker noting
Map of Hampton to Howard's Bridge, Virginia. image. Click for full size.
By Robert Knox Sneden, circa 1862
2. Map of Hampton to Howard's Bridge, Virginia.
Library of Congress
the spot where Pvt. Henry L. Wyatt was killed, were erected here in 1905. Another Confederate memorial was erected when the Civil War Centennial began in 1961, as was the 1st Vermont Infantry monument.

(captions)
Langley Field, looking west, 1920 – Courtesy Library of Congress
Big Bethel Battlefield, 1861 Courtesy Library of Congress
Big Bethel Battlefield, 2103 Courtesy Library of Congress
Flying Fortress, Langley Field, 1942 – Courtesy Library of Congress

 
Erected 2016 by Virginia Civil War Trails. (Marker Number 5.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 37° 5.507′ N, 76° 25.567′ 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 (a few steps from this
Sunset silhouette of flying fortress, Langley Field, Va. image. Click for full size.
By Alfred T. Palmer, July 1942
3. Sunset silhouette of flying fortress, Langley Field, Va.
Library of Congress LC-DIG-fsac-1a35090
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); Battle of Big Bethel Union Monument (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
 
Battle of Big Bethel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 28, 2017
4. Battle of Big Bethel Marker
Battle of Big Bethel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 28, 2017
5. 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 75 times since then. Photos:   1. submitted on May 29, 2017, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   2, 3. submitted on May 30, 2017.   4, 5. submitted on May 29, 2017, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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