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Yorktown in York County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Yorktown Waterfront

Union Port and Supply Depot

 

—1862 Peninsula Campaign —

 
Yorktown Waterfront Civil War Trails Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 12, 2008
1. Yorktown Waterfront Civil War Trails Marker
Inscription. In spring 1862, the Confederate heavy artillery batteries on the bluffs at Yorktown, as well as those positioned along the waterfront on both sides of the York River, effectively blocked the U.S. Navy’s attempts to bypass Magruder’s 2nd Peninsula Defensive Line. The waterfront fortifications were built by Maj. Gen. John Bankhead Magruder’s Army of the Peninsula and Confederate naval personnel. The earthworks on Yorktown’s inland perimeter were mostly constructed atop the British defenses from the 1781 siege.

On the night of May 3-4, 1862, the Confederate army abandoned the 2nd Defensive Line. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, CSA, believed that the Confederate positions could not withstand Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan’s, USA, elaborately prepared bombardment with heavy siege guns. The Confederate army was prevented from evacuating its heavy equipment and artillery via the York River because McClellan’s Siege Battery Number 1, comprised of 100- and 200-pound Parrott siege cannon, had already bombarded the waterfront.

The Confederate evacuation suddenly changed Yorktown into a busy port supporting the Union advance on Richmond. Members of the 1st Connecticut Heavy artillery retrieved the ordinance from the siege batteries around the town, and troops assembled at Yorktown to be transported up river to the Federal base at White House
Marker at the Yorktown Waterfront image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 12, 2008
2. Marker at the Yorktown Waterfront
on the Pamunkey River, a tributary of the York River. As the Peninsula Campaign continued, casualties from battles around Richmond were transported to Yorktown, which became a major hospital area.

Following the 1862 Peninsula Campaign, Yorktown became a Union garrison and headquarters for a federally held district which also included Williamsburg and Gloucester Point. Its waterfront area was an active port for Union forces until the summer of 1864, when the Union army established a supply base at City Point on the James River during the Petersburg Campaign.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 37° 14.169′ N, 76° 30.361′ W. Marker is in Yorktown, Virginia, in York County. Marker is at the intersection of Water Street and Read Street, on the left when traveling north on Water Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Yorktown VA 23690, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Great Fire of 1814 (here, next to this marker); Tobacco Inspection (here, next to this marker); Yorktown's Stormy Past (within shouting distance of
York River Waterfront image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 12, 2008
3. York River Waterfront
This photo of the Yorktown Waterfront was taken from in front of the marker. The Gloucester Point batteries were located to the right of the bridge on the opposite side of the York River.
this marker); TransAmerica Bike Trail (within shouting distance of this marker); Yorktown’s Waterfront (within shouting distance of this marker); Pirates in Yorktown? (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Chesapeake Bay Impact Crater (about 300 feet away); An Archer House (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Yorktown.
 
More about this marker. The right of the marker contains a map of fortified Yorktown, courtesy of the National Archives, and two war-time photographs, courtesy of the U.S. Army Military History Institute. One photo is of “Troops, along with siege guns, mortars and gun platforms assembled at Yorktown’s lower wharf awaiting shipment up river. In the distance is the upper wharf and on the bluffs to the left are abandoned Confederate cannon.” The other is of “A view of the lower wharf looking toward the York River. The ordinance to the left is the same as that seen in the lower part of the other waterfront view.”
 
Also see . . .
1. Yorktown in the Civil War. Yorktown Battlefield,
<i>Embarkation for White House, from Yorktown, Va.</i> image. Click for full size.
By Brady's National Photographic Portrait Galleries, 1862
4. Embarkation for White House, from Yorktown, Va.
Stereograph showing Union soldiers and supplies including stacks of cannon balls at the dock in Yorktown, Virginia. Steamships in the distance will transport the supplies to White House Landing Virginia. - Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
National Park Service. (Submitted on August 18, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

2. Tidewater Virginia, The 1862 Peninsula Campaign. Civil War Traveler. (Submitted on August 18, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 
 
Categories. Notable PlacesWar, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 18, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,128 times since then and 34 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 18, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   4. submitted on December 27, 2014.
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