Williamsburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Williamsburg in the Civil War
Gateway to Richmond
—1862 Peninsula Campaign —
When the Civil War erupted, however, Williamsburg became strategically significant. Situated 12 miles west of Yorktown on a peninsula formed by the York and James rivers, Williamsburg is located on a four-mile-wide plain with ravines, marshes, millponds, and streams – to the east and west. The topography narrowed the land approach to Williamsburg from Hampton and Yorktown. Two highways, the Yorktown-Hampton and Great Warwick (Hampton) Roads, converged a few miles east of Williamsburg and then passed through the town toward Richmond, the Confederate capital, 50 miles northwest. Fort Monroe, the only masonry fort in Virginia in Union hands throughout the war, stands 24 miles southeast on Old Point Comfort near Hampton.
Because the Confederates were determined to block any Federal advance from Fort Monroe, Williamsburg became a key to their defensive system. The array of fortifications known as the Williamsburg Line was the scene of the May 5, 1862, Battle of Williamsburg. The town
Although Williamsburg is famous for its colonial heritage, parts of the 1862 battlefield remain intact, such as the two redoubts found here in Redoubt Park. The city of Williamsburg, Riverside Health Systems, and the Virginia War Museum Foundation cooperated to preserve them.
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 37° 15.287′ N, 76° 41.1′ W. Marker is in Williamsburg, Virginia. Marker is on Quarterpath Road, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is located in Redoubt Park on Quarterpath Road in Williamsburg. Marker is in this post office area: Williamsburg VA 23185, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Defending the Peninsula (within shouting distance of this marker); Redoubt 1 (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Battle of Williamsburg (about 400 feet away); Quarterpath Road (approx. 0.2 miles History of Fort Magruder (approx. 0.6 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Williamsburg (approx. 0.7 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Williamsburg (approx. ¾ mile away); Magruder’s Defenses (approx. ¾ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Williamsburg.
More about this marker. The top of the marker contains a picture of “A View in Williamsburg, Va.,” showing wagons on Duke of Gloucester St., by William McIlvaine – Courtesy Library of Congress. Next to this is a map showing the locations of other Civil War Trails markers.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Markers on the walking trail of Williamsburg’s Redoubt Park.
Also see . . .
1. Battle of Williamsburg, 5 May 1862. Williamsburg was the first large battlefield encounter between Union and Confederate forces during the Peninsula Campaign of 1862. (Submitted on August 19, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
2. The Peninsula Campaign of 1862. (Submitted on August 19, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
3. Tidewater Virginia, The 1862 Peninsula Campaign. Civil War Traveler. (Submitted on August 19, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • Notable Places • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 19, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 2,388 times since then and 45 times this year. Last updated on October 11, 2014, by Peter Jones of Williamsburg, VA - Virginia. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 19, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.