Battle of Big Bethel

Battle of Big Bethel (HM1YLP)

Location: Hampton, VA 23666
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 5.507', W 76° 25.567'

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Changing Landscape

In the spring of 1862, Union Gen. George B. McClellan led his 100,000-man Army of the Potomac west from Hampton past Big Bethel in a campaign to capture Richmond. The battlefield of June 9, 1861, soon faded into obscurity.
Little remains of the Big Bethel Battlefield today; this is the last publicly accessible segment. The U.S. Army flooded Brick Kiln Creek in the 1890s to provide drinking water for Fort Monroe. Many key portions of the battlefield, including the church site and most of the Confederate fortifications, are submerged beneath Big Bethel Reservoir.
In 1916, the National Advisory Council for Aeronautics searched for a site for a new airfield and proving ground for Army and Navy aircraft and determined that a location five miles east of here was ideal: near water, flat, and in an area sparsely populated for take-offs, landings, and expansion. The new proving ground was named for aviation pioneer Samuel P. Langley. In the years that followed, the growth of the airfield, Hampton, and Newport News profoundly changed this rural landscape.
Today, Langley Air Force Base occupies much of the remaining battleground, and housing covers the site where Maj. Theodore Winthrop made the final Union assault. A store was built where Lt. John Greble was killed. The first monuments, the obelisk and the marker noting
the spot where Pvt. Henry L. Wyatt was killed, were erected here in 1905. Another Confederate memorial was erected when the Civil War Centennial began in 1961, as was the 1st Vermont Infantry monument.

Langley Field, looking west, 1920 - Courtesy Library of Congress
Big Bethel Battlefield, 1861 Courtesy Library of Congress
Big Bethel Battlefield, 2103 Courtesy Library of Congress
Flying Fortress, Langley Field, 1942 - 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 9:02am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 373258 N 4106005
Decimal Degrees37.09178333, -76.42611667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 5.507', W 76° 25.567'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 5' 30.42" N, 76° 25' 34.02" 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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