On 10 June 1861, the first land battle of the Civil War in present-day Virginia took place here at Big Bethel Church. Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, commanding at Fort Monroe, sent converging columns at night from Hampton and Newport News for a dawn attack against Confederate outposts there. The 1,408 Confederates, led by Cols. John B. Magruder and D. H. Hill, fell back to their entrenchments behind Brick Kiln Creek, near the church. Some 4,400 Federals under Brig. Gen. Ebenezer W. Pierce pursued, launched two disjointed attacks, and were repulsed. They then retreated to Fort Monroe, leaving the Confederates in control of most of the Peninsula.