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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
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 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
Battle of Big Bethel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 28, 2017
2. Battle of Big Bethel Marker
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.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 37° 5.491′ N, 76° 25.561′ 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 (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.
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
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 69 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 29, 2017, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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