The Battle of Lee's Mill

The Battle of Lee's Mill (HM7A3)

Location: Newport News, VA 23608
Country: United States of America

N 37° 9.822', W 76° 33.912'

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1862 Peninsula Campaign

In March of 1862, Union Maj. Gen. George McClellan's Army of the Potomac landed at Fort Monroe and Camp Butler. This large force contained 121,500 soldiers, 44 batteries of field artillery and 101 heavy siege cannons. Confederate Maj. Gen. John Magruder, promoted for his June 10, 1861 victory at the Battle of Big Bethel, rightly viewed his situation as precarious and requested more cannons and troops for the Peninsula's defenses.

On April 4, 1862, the Army of the Potomac moved up the Peninsula in two columns. The III Corps marched from Fort Monroe up the Hampton-Yorktown Road toward the Yorktown defenses, and the IV Corps advanced up the Great Warwick Road from Camp Butler toward the Halfway House between Yorktown and Williamsburg. Gen. McClellan planned to trap the Confederates in a two-pronged maneuver with the III Corps holding Magruder's forces at Yorktown while the IV Corps blocked their retreat toward Williamsburg.

The Battle of Lee's Mill on April 5, 1862, stopped the Union flanking movement. Gen. McClellan's maps incorrectly showed the Warwick River flowing parallel to the James River. Therefore, he was unaware that the Warwick flowed from near Yorktown and blocked the Union advance. Lee's Mill was defended by one brigade from Brig. Gen. Lafayette McLaws' division and supported by Capt. Joseph Cosnahan's Peninsula Artillery. Brig. Gen. William F. Smith's division led the Union advance from the Warwick Court House towards Lee's Mill. Lt. Col. John Weems marched four companies of the 10th Georgia Infantry across the river to skirmish with the advancing Union soldiers. Moreover, Capt. Cosnahan's two cannons in the extreme right redoubt dueled with Capt. Charles Wheeler's Battery E, 1st New York Light Artillery and forced their withdrawal. Halted by the Confederate defenses, Gen. Smith deployed his three brigades under heavy fire along the Warwick. Brig. Gen. Erasmus Keyes, IV Corps commander, reported to McClellan that "No part of this line as far as discovered can be taken by assault without an enormous waste of life." The Battle of Lee's Mill only cost the Confederates seven casualties and the Union twelve, but it thwarted McClellan's plans and convinced him to besiege the Warwick-Yorktown line.
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Details
HM NumberHM7A3
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Tags
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 at 10:39am PDT -07:00
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 361029 N 4114179
Decimal Degrees37.16370000, -76.56520000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 9.822', W 76° 33.912'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 9' 49.32" N, 76° 33' 54.72" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)757, 301
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 280 Rivers Ridge Cir, Newport News VA 23608, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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Nearby Markersshow on map
Union Occupation
0.03 miles
The Warwick-Yorktown Line
0.03 miles
Fortification Design
0.05 miles
Battle of Lee's Mill
0.09 miles
Lee's Mill
0.09 miles
The Warwick River
0.1 miles
Lee's Mill Earthworks
0.41 miles
Glebe Lands
0.77 miles
Mulberry Point
0.85 miles
Fort Eustis
0.85 miles

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