On May 4th, 1862 Union Division's of Generals Hooker, Hancock, and "Baldy" Smith encountered units of the Southern Army east of Williamsburg.
When the Confederate Army Commander General Joseph E. Johnston became aware of the engagement, he sent Colonel John B. Magruder's command to occupy and defend a line of earthen fortifications which had been built during the spring of 1861. Fort Magruder, as it became known, dominated the center of a line of 14 smaller earthworks, known as redoubts, which stretched from Queens Creek to the north, to Tutters Neck Pond to the south. This fort was the focus of a concerted battle that raged for two days before Johnston disengaged his defenders. McClellan had been delayed long enough for Lee to assemble his defensive forces around Richmond. The hotel is located on the site of the remains of reboubt number three. Artifacts from the Battle of Williamsburg are displayed in the lobby along with additional information.