An Earthwork in Front

An Earthwork in Front (HMASN)

Location: Newport News, VA 23603
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 11.984', W 76° 34.497'

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Situated on high ground two miles behind the Warwick-Yorktown line, this redoubt (a four or multiple-sided field fortification) was constructed by the Confederate Army of the Peninsula. It provided a field of fire down the Great Warwick Road toward Lee's Mill. Moreover, this redoubt marks the site of a skirmish on May 4, 1862.

The Confederates had evacuated the Warwick-Yorktown line on May 3, 1862, after a three-week siege. The next morning the Union Army occupied the Confederate earthworks and pursued their retreating enemy. The Federal IV Corps advanced up the Great Warwick Road from Lee's Mill toward Lee Hall. Brig. Gen. William "Baldy" Smith's division led the infantry march screened by Capt. William Chambliss' squadron of the 5th U.S. Cavalry. Elements of the Jeff Davis Legion of Mississippi, covering the Confederate retreat, awaited the Union advance in this redoubt.

In his report Capt. Chamblis wrote, "At the recent headquarters of General Magruder, situated on a commanding eminence, with an earthwork in front, I again discovered the pickets of the enemy, strongly posted in the work and in the rear of the building." Here, the 5th U.S. Cavalry fought a brief skirmish with the Jeff Davis Legion. The Union troopers carried only revolvers and sabers while the Confederates were armed with shotguns and carbines. Faced with heavy fire, Chambliss regrouped his squadron and sent out a flanking party. This prompted the Mississippians to abandon this position and rejoin their other comrades behind Skiffs Creek. Afterwards, Smith's division marched past Lee Hall toward the cavalry and artillery battle near Williamsburg.
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Date Added Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 at 1:07am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 360229 N 4118191
Decimal Degrees37.19973333, -76.57495000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 11.984', W 76° 34.497'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 11' 59.04" N, 76° 34' 29.82" 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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