[PAST EVENT] "A Battle without a Plan" - Battle of Williamsburg, May 5, 1862

March 21, 2012 - October 15, 2012
10am - 6pm
Swem Library, Special Collections Research Center Lobby
400 Landrum Dr
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
The Battle of Williamsburg was a rear-guard action fought in rain and mud on May 5, 1862. The Union forces, led by George B. McClellan's second-in-command, Edwin Vose Sumner, attacked the Confederates as the Southern forces withdrew from their Yorktown defenses en route to Richmond. The armies met near Williamsburg, which was defended by 13 small redoubts and anchored at its center by a large one, Fort Magruder. The Federal forces outnumbered the Confederates 2 to 1 (112,000 soldiers to 54,000 soldiers).

Assisting Sumner were his corps commanders Samuel P. Heintzelman and Erasmus K. Keyes. The field commanders on the Southern side were James Longstreet and D. H. Hill, both division commanders. Other well-known names involved in the action were A. P. Hill, George Pickett, J. E. B. Stuart, who fought with the Confederate States Army; and Joseph Hooker, Philip Kearny, and George Custer, who fought with the Union Army.

Brig. Gen. Jubal Early's Southern brigade made a heroic charge against Brig. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock's men, but the Confederates were repulsed. While the fight was a tactical draw, each side was impressed with the others tenacity. The Southern forces continued their retreat toward Richmond. Federal troops occupied Williamsburg for the remainder of the war.

[[sarigg, Susan Riggs]], 221-3095