Quarterpath Road

Quarterpath Road (HM6RX)

Location: Williamsburg, VA 23185
Country: United States of America

N 37° 15.446', W 76° 40.988'

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Historic Avenue

— 1862 Peninsula Campaign —

On the other side of the parapet is Quarterpath Road, a historic roadbed that for centuries linked Williamsburg to Allen's Wharf on the James River. It runs behind the Confederate fortifications here, gaining additional importance during the Battle of Williamsburg.

Confederate Gen. John B. Magruder intended to use the Williamsburg Line if forced to abandon the Warwick-Yorktown Line. When Gen. Joseph E. Johnston assumed command of the Confederate forces blocking Union Gen. George B. McClellan's advance from Fort Monroe toward Richmond, however, Johnston ignored the line and ordered a retreat up the Peninsula to the Confederate capital. On the evening of May 3, 1862, the Confederates withdrew from the Warwick-Yorktown defenses in heavy rain and on muddy roads. When McClellan realized that the fortifications had been abandoned, he sent Gen. Edwin V. Sumner in pursuit. The Confederate rear guard, Gen. James Longstreet's division, had to slow the Federals and allow the Confederate artillery and wagon trains to advance toward Richmond.

Gen. J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry watched for pursuing Federal troops. On May 4, cavalry engagements occurred between Williamsburg and Yorktown. A Confederate later recalled, "The roads were long strings of guns, wagons, and ambulances, mixed in with infantry, artillery and cavalry, splashing and bogging through the darkness in a river of mud, with frequent long halts when some stalled vehicles blocked the road."

Stuart concentrated his strength on the Confederate left under Lt. Col. W.C. Wickham's 4th Virginia Cavalry, which clashed with Union Gen. George Stoneman's cavalry, including four batteries of horse artillery, along the Yorktown Road. Philip St. George Cooke, Stuart's father-in-law, commanded a Federal battery. When Stoneman detached Gen. William H. Emory to cut off a portion of the Confederate cavalry, Stuart and his horsemen became separated from the Southern forces. Stuart rode along the beach on the James River and then galloped up Quarterpath Road to rejoin the Confederate army.
HM NumberHM6RX
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, September 15th, 2014 at 12:41pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 350742 N 4124758
Decimal Degrees37.25743333, -76.68313333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 15.446', W 76° 40.988'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 15' 26.76" N, 76° 40' 59.28" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)757, 202
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 425-511 State Rte 637, Williamsburg VA 23185, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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