Lee Hall

Lee Hall (HM6OO)

Location: Newport News, VA 23603
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 12.028', W 76° 34.447'

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Siege Headquarters

— 1862 Peninsula Campaign —

The small redoubt in front of you is the only visual evidence of Lee Hall's military occupation by the Confederate army from May 1861 to May 1862. The antebellum mansion to your right served as a headquarters building for both Maj. Gen. John Bankhead Magruder, CSA, and Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, CSA, during the Peninsula Campaign's Warwick - Yorktown Siege. Lee Hall was built between 1848 and 1859 by Warwick County's leading landowner, Richard Decauter Lee. Lee had risen to prominence by following Edmund Ruffin's concepts of "scientific farming" which had given new life to the tobacco depleted soil and had provided him with the resources to build this avant-garde Italianate style mansion.

When John Bankhead Magruder first came to the Peninsula in May 1861, it was R.D. Lee who showed him the Warwick River and how it could become the Confederate main line of defense. Magruder used Lee Hall as one of his headquarters buildings during his year-long command of the self-styled Army of the Peninsula.

When the Peninsula Campaign's Warwick - Yorktown Siege entered into its second week, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and the main Confederate army was sent down the Peninsula to help block the Union army's advance. Johnston used Lee Hall as his temporary headquarters on April 12, when he surveyed Magruder's fortifications and once again on April 17, when he returned from a conference in Richmond. During his second day at Lee Hall, Johnston approved Capt. Randolph Bryan's aerial observations of the Federal siege lines. A hot air balloon was sent aloft that day in front of the mansion to test the concept's feasibility.

Once in command on the Peninsula, Joe Johnston reorganized the Confederate command structure. Magruder was basically demoted from army to divisional commander, in charge of the Confederate right wing from Dam No. 1 to Mulberry Island. Three other generals now outranked him on the Peninsula which was particularly irksome to Prince John Magruder. No longer the lead actor, Magruder began to sulk in his re-established headquarters at Lee Hall, criticizing the design and armament of the very defenses he had developed.
HM NumberHM6OO
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, September 28th, 2014 at 4:29pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 360305 N 4118271
Decimal Degrees37.20046667, -76.57411667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 12.028', W 76° 34.447'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 12' 1.68" N, 76° 34' 26.82" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)757
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 626 Chelsea Pl, Newport News VA 23603, US
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