December 12, 2007

Civil War Yorktown

Although best-known for its role in the Revolutionary War, Yorktown also played a role in the Civil War. Here we see the overgrown remains of entrenchments.

A Civil War Trails signs calls the area "The Frowning Fortress of York, 1862 Peninsula Campaign." Here's an excerpt: The trench line to your right is all that remains of a formidable line of Confederate earthworks that once blocked this historic road and the Union army's advance westward past Yorktown in 1862...

...By May 3 more heavy artillery was aimed on Yorktown than had ever been massed in a single spot at that time in world history. That night, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, CSA, who in mid-April had assumed command of Confederate forces, decided his troops could not withstand the Union bombardment and withdrew his forces.

Above right is a portion of the sign showing a period photo of the trenches (excuse the leaf!) and a portrait of Maj. Gen. Daniel Harvey Hill, CSA.

Not far from there you'll find the Yorktown National Cemetery. A sign there continues the story. Yorktown became a Union garrison for most of the Civil War and provided a hospital service to wounded and sick soldiers...

pvt. william scottNote the soldier on the right-hand side of the sign. He is William Scott, known as the Sleeping Sentinel, who won fame in newspaper reports and a poem at the time. He was killed at Dam No. 1 (Lee's Mill) and is buried here.

The other soldier on the sign is Isaac Cornelius, killed at Cold Harbor in 1864 and also buried here.

See also Yorktown in the Civil War (NPS)

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