Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Newport News, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Union Occupation

1862 Peninsula Campaign

 
 
Union Occupation Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 11, 2008
1. Union Occupation Marker
Inscription. The Battle of Lee’s Mill set the stage for an elaborate ruse as Gen. Magruder maneuvered his troops along the 12-mile line and created the illusion of double his numbers. Moreover, Gen. McClellan was daunted by the Confederate defenses and had siegeworks and 15 separate batteries for the heavy siege cannons and mortars erected between April 5 and May 4, 1862. Gen. Joseph Johnston arrived mid-April with three divisions that increased the Confederate force to 56,000. The only real battle occurred at Dam No. 1 on April 16, 1862, when the 3rd Vermont Infantry broke through the Confederate defenses. The Green Mountain boys did not receive reinforcements and retreated under heavy fire. McClellan wasted this opportunity, and his siege operations provided the Confederate high command time to prepare Richmond’s defenses and reorganize their army.

Gen. Johnston criticized the Peninsula’s defenses and believed that Richmond was best defended nearer the capital. President Jefferson Davis and Gen. Robert E. Lee wanted the Union Army held at the Warwick-Yorktown line. During the summer of 1861, Gen. Lee had counciled Magruder that "A defensive line between Yorktown and Mulberry Island by damming and defending the Warwick River promises the happiest results." Johnston, however, argued that McClellan outnumbered and outgunned his forces. The Union
Marker in Lee’s Mill Historic Park image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 11, 2008
2. Marker in Lee’s Mill Historic Park
commander scheduled the grand barrage of the Confederate defenses for May 5, 1862. Johnston disobeyed orders and retreated on the night of May 3, 1862.

The Confederate artillery covered the night march toward Williamsburg. The Union soldiers, who occupied the Warwick-Yorktown line on May 4, 1862, discovered a new type of weapon. The Confederates buried subterra torpedoes (land mines). As the 23rd Pennsylvania Infantry occupied Lee’s Mill, Sergeant Caldwell stepped on a torpedo which was calmly extinguished by Private Albert Barry pouring his canteen over the smoking shell. Not all encounters were bloodless and at least three dozen Union troops were injured and one civilian telegraph operator died. The Union Army occupied Yorktown and pursued the retreating Confederates. The May 5, 1862 Battle of Williamsburg delayed the Union pursuit and allowed Johnston’s forces to retreat safely to Richmond. The Peninsula Campaign continued for another two months, culminating in McClellan’s defeat during the Seven Days battles around Richmond.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Location. 37° 9.821′ N, 76° 33.88′ W. Marker is in Newport News, Virginia. Marker can be reached from Rivers Ridge Circle, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker
Newport News Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 11, 2008
3. Newport News Marker
is located along the walking trail in Lee’s Mill Historic Park, off Warwick Blvd. Marker is in this post office area: Newport News VA 23608, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Battle of Lee’s Mill (within shouting distance of this marker); The Warwick-Yorktown Line (within shouting distance of this marker); Fortification Design (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Warwick River (about 400 feet away); Lee’s Mill (about 600 feet away); a different marker also named Battle of Lee’s Mill (about 600 feet away); Lee’s Mill Earthworks (approx. 0.4 miles away); Glebe Lands (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Newport News.
 
More about this marker. A sketch of “The Occupation of Yorktown” appears on the top of the marker next to the title. The bottom right of the marker features a photograph of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, Courtesy of the National Archives.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Markers along the walking trail in Lee’s Mill Historic Park.
 
Also see . . .
1. The Peninsula Campaign. (Submitted on September 10, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Lee’s Mill Historic Park image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 11, 2008
4. Lee’s Mill Historic Park
This park contains a trail through the Confederate fortifications on the Warwick River. The marker is on this trail.

2. Tidewater Virginia, The 1862 Peninsula Campaign. Civil War Traveler. (Submitted on September 10, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 10, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,308 times since then and 31 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 10, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.
Paid Advertisement