Engineers Debate the Williamsburg Line
— 1862 Peninsula Campaign —Because Lt. Col. Benjamin S. Ewell had made little progress on the Williamsburg defenses by late June 1861, Gen. John B. Magruder, commanding the Army of the Peninsula, replaced him with Gen. Lafayette McLaws. Capt. Alfred L. Rives, acting chief of the Engineer Bureau in Richmond and an 1848 graduate of Virginia Military Institute, disliked Ewell's concept of a defense based on interlocking redoubts (detached fortifications linked by rifle pits) but gave in. He later wrote that when "one redoubt is carried ? the troops cease to have confidence in the whole line and the defense ? is most defective." He also found Ewell's proposed line, which ran north from College Creek through Williamsburg, would have required leveling part of the town to clear fields of fire. Rives suggested a line east of town to take advantage of terrain features. Ewell thought it too long, requiring too many men to defend it. Magruder, a West Point trained engineer like Ewell and McLaws, agreed with Rives's choice of location and ordered McLaws to begin work on July 9, 1861.
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|Series||This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series|
|Placed By||Virginia Civil War Trails|
|Marker Condition||No reports yet|
|Date Added||Saturday, October 25th, 2014 at 8:52am PDT -07:00|
|UTM (WGS84 Datum)||18S E 350743 N 4124773|
|Decimal Degrees||37.25756667, -76.68311667|
|Degrees and Decimal Minutes||N 37° 15.454', W 76° 40.987'|
|Degrees, Minutes and Seconds||37° 15' 27.24" N, 76° 40' 59.22" W|
|Driving Directions||Google Maps|
|Area Code(s)||757, 202|
|Closest Postal Address||At or near 425-511 State Rte 637, Williamsburg VA 23185, US|
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