Smithfield in Isle of Wight County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Battle of Smithﬁeld
The Town that Wouldn’t Surrender
Smithﬁeld was the only town in the Hampton Roads/Tidewater region not occupied by Union forces during the 1862 Peninsula Campaign. Todd's Battery, defending the Pagan River at Battery Park, had been destroyed and Confederate soldiers had evacuated the town.
In late January 1864, a Federal steamer on the James River was ﬁred upon and run aground by a Confederate force from the Isle of Wight shore. Immediately, the Union retaliated by sending the gunboat, Smith-Briggs, to Smithﬁeld. The vessel disembarked 90 soldiers at the old abandoned shipyard at the foot of Church Street. The troops marched inland, skirmished with local Confederates, then returned to Smithﬁeld, only to ﬁnd that the Smith-Briggs had not returned to retrieve them. The next day, February 1, 1864, the Confederates disputed the Union retreat by positioning two cannon, one at the county dock and the other at the foot of Church Street.
When the Smith-Briggs ﬁnally returned for the Federal soldiers it was greeted with shot and shell, one of which pierced the
(upper left) Gilded eagle from the USS Smith-Briggs pilothouse. Courtesy of Isle of Wight Museum
(lower right) USS Smith-Briggs - Courtesy of Isle of Wight Museum
Erected by Virginia Civil WarTrails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 36° 58.931′ N, 76° 37.473′ W. Marker is in Smithfield, Virginia, in Isle of Wight County. Marker is on South Church Street (Business U.S. 258) 0.2 miles east of Jericho Road, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Smithfield VA 23430, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking Smithfield (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Smithfield (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line but has been reported missing); Ivy Hill Cemetery (approx. 0.4 miles away); Joseph W. Luter, III (approx. 0.4 miles away); Law & Politics in 18th Century Isle of Wight (approx. 0.4 miles away); Old Isle of Wight Courthouse (approx. 0.4 miles away); Isle of Wight County War Memorial (approx. 0.4 miles away); Liquid Maze (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Smithfield.
Also see . . . The Battle of Smithfield. Smithfield & Isle of Wight Convention & Visitors Bureau (Submitted on September 1, 2014.)
Categories. • War, US Civil • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 1, 2014, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 307 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on September 1, 2014, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.