Battle of Big Bethel

Battle of Big Bethel (HM1YLK)

Location: Hampton, VA 23666
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 5.491', W 76° 25.561'

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Long-Term Consequences

Although Confederate Col. John B. Magruder and his forces won the Battle of Big Bethel, they could not stem the Federal tide for long. On June 15, 1861, within a week of the battle, a huge Sawyer rifled cannon mounted at Fort Calhoun (Fort Wool) on the Rip Raps, opened fire on the Confederate battery at Sewell's Point. Aeronaut John La Mountain began making ascensions in his hot air balloon Atlantic late in July, taking observations from as high as two thousand feet to improve the accuracy of the periodic shelling.
Magruder ordered Hampton evacuated and burned after he read a newspaper account of Gen. Benjamin F. Butler's intention to occupy and fortify the town and make it a haven for "runaway slaves." Soldiers and white residents burned it down on August 7. Butler did not fortify Hampton, but Magruder's fear was partially realized when Butler settled contrabands there in "Slabtown."
On March 8, 1862, a new era in naval warfare began in Hampton Roads with the first clash of ironclad ships, USS Monitor and CSS Virginia, formerly USS Merrimac. Eleven days later, on March 17, Union Gen. George B. McClellan and his vast Army of the Potomac embarked in Alexandria and began steaming to Hampton. McClellan then launched the Peninsula Campaign to capture Richmond. The effort proved futile but
initiated the great blood-letting that continued in eastern Virginia until 1865.
Gen. George B. McClellan Courtesy Library of Congress
Sewell's Point Battery, Harper's Weekly, Nov. 2, 1861 — Library of Congress
Balloon reconnaissance of Confederate positions, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, Aug. 31, 1861
Army of the Potomac landing at Hampton, March 1862 — Library of Congress
Ruins of Hampton — Courtesy Library of Congress
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Year Placed2016
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 at 9:01am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 373267 N 4105975
Decimal Degrees37.09151667, -76.42601667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 5.491', W 76° 25.561'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 5' 29.46" N, 76° 25' 33.66" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)757
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1645 Big Bethel Rd, Hampton VA 23666, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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