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Williamsburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Defending the Peninsula

Avenue of Attack

 

—1862 Peninsula Campaign —

 
Defending the Peninsula Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 10, 2008
1. Defending the Peninsula Marker
Inscription. When Virginia seceded on April 17, 1861, Union and Confederate leaders alike saw the Peninsula as an avenue of attack against Richmond. Federal ships on the James and York rivers could guard an army’s flanks and escort supply vessels upstream. Fort Monroe, on Old Point Comfort overlooking lower Chesapeake Bay and Hampton Roads, could serve as a Union base.

Late in April, Lt. Col. Benjamin S. Ewell, an 1832 West Point graduate and former president of the College of William and Mary, took command of Confederate forces on the Peninsula. Although Ewell conceived a fortified line near Williamsburg, it was Gen. John B. Magruder who constructed a defensive system in depth across the Peninsula in 1861-1862. An 1830 West Point graduate dubbed Prince John for his theatrical mannerisms, Magruder enlisted the assistance of Capt. Alfred Rives, Acting Chief of the Engineering Bureau in Richmond.

Magruder’s forward line – closest to the Federals at Fort Monroe – began at Young’s Mill on Deep Creek, crossed the Peninsula to Howard’s Bridge on the Poquoson River, and followed that river to Ship Point. The second line began at Mulberry Island on the James River and followed the Warwick River to within a mile and a half of Yorktown, which was fortified with a series of redoubts, some constructed atop British works remaining from
Marker in Redoubt Park image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 10, 2008
2. Marker in Redoubt Park
the 1781 siege. The final line, the Williamsburg Line, consisted of 14 redoubts between College and Queen’s creeks. Powerful water batteries, including one at Gloucester Point across the York River from Yorktown, defended the system’s flanks. Others covered the James River, including Mulberry Island Point, Fort Boykin at Burwell’s Bay, Fort Huger on Hardin’s Bluff, and Jamestown Island.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 37° 15.293′ N, 76° 41.134′ 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. Williamsburg in the Civil War (within shouting distance of this marker); Redoubt 1 (within shouting distance of this marker); Battle of Williamsburg (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Quarterpath Road (approx. 0.2 miles away); History of Fort Magruder
Defending the Peninsula Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, June 24, 2010
3. Defending the Peninsula Marker
looking in different direction
(approx. 0.7 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Williamsburg (approx. ¾ mile away); Peninsula Campaign (approx. ¾ mile away); a different marker also named Battle of Williamsburg (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 map of Magruder’s three defensive lines across the Peninsula. Flanking the map are photographs of Gen. John B. Magruder, Courtesy of Library of Congress and Lt. Col. Benjamin S. Ewell, Courtesy of the Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library, College of William and Mary.
 
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
Confederate Earthworks image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 10, 2008
4. Confederate Earthworks
These fortifications were part of the Confederate's third line of defense in 1862.
. Civil War Traveler. (Submitted on August 19, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 
 
Categories. Notable PlacesWar, US Civil
 
Williamsburg's Redoubt Park image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 10, 2008
5. Williamsburg's Redoubt Park
This park on Quarterpath Road contains a walking path that traverses the Confederate fortifications of the "Williamsburg Line." Several Civil War Trails signs are found along the path.
Confederate Defenses on the Peninsula image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 10, 2008
6. Confederate Defenses on the Peninsula
The marker is part of the third line of defense, near Williamsburg.
 
 
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 1,616 times since then and 57 times this year. Last updated on October 15, 2014, by Peter Jones of Williamsburg, VA - Virginia. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 19, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   3. submitted on August 8, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee.   4, 5, 6. submitted on August 19, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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