Gloucester Point in Gloucester County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Ancient Defender of the York
—1862 Peninsula Campaign —
In June 1861, the Confederate Army fortified Gloucester Point by constructing a star-shaped fort and water battery overlooking the York River. The main battery was at the extremity of the point, its terreplain only two feet above high tide. It was a fully enclosed earthwork, 100 yards long and 75 yards wide. Its parapet was 7½ feet high on the inside and 20 feet thick, with embrasures for 12 guns. While the battery was under construction Gloucester Point came under fire from Union gunboats. The attack was repulsed and the battery completed under the instruction of Gen. Robert E. Lee, CSA. Its armament consisted of eight 9-inch Dahlgrens and four 32-pounders. The water battery was protected from land attack by the star-shaped
Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan’s concept to capture Richmond by way of the Virginia Peninsula was based on his ability to utilize the James and York rivers as avenues of approach to the Confederate capital. The emergence of the powerful ironclad ram, the CSS Virginia (Merrimack), blocked the James River to McClellan’s use and forced him to concentrate his army on the York River. When McClellan’s advance was blocked by Magruder’s 2nd Defensive Line, the U.S. Navy refused to make any attempt to run past the batteries at Yorktown and Gloucester Point. The entire 2nd Defensive Line was abandoned by the Confederates on the evening of May 3-4, 1862. Only then was the U.S. Navy able to transport McClellan’s troops and equipment up the York River to White House Landing on the Pamunkey River and continue operations against Richmond.
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 37° 14.962′ N, 76° 30.13′ W. Marker is in Gloucester Point, Virginia, in Gloucester County. Marker can be reached from Vernon Street near Riverview Street. Touch for map. The marker is in Tyndall's Point Park. Marker
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Still Defending Virginia’s Shores (here, next to this marker); Classic Camp Life (within shouting distance of this marker); On to Richmond! (within shouting distance of this marker); Where North Meets South (within shouting distance of this marker); The British Safety Valve (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Attacking with “Decisive Vigor” (about 400 feet away); A Vital British Outpost at Gloucester Point (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Gloucester Point (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gloucester Point.
More about this marker. On the upper left is a watercolor of “Union Gunboats shelling Yorktown and Gloucester Point, watercolor by Lt. Robert K. Sneden.” – Copyright Virginia Historical Society, 1997.
On the lower right is a photo of “A 9-inch Dahlgren in the Confederate Water Battery at Glocester Point.” Courtesy of U.S. Army military History Institute.
Categories. • Forts, Castles • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 5, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,188 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on May 5, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.