Yorktown and the Peninsular Campaign

This illustration from Harpers Weekly of August 8, 1863. The caption stated "The Battle of Gettysburg - Longstreet's Attack on our Left Center - Blue Ridge in the Distance - From a Drawing by Mr. A. R. Waud.-

Federal troops led by General McDowell advanced towards Manassas Junction, where Confederate troops were dug in, blocking the road to Richmond. Both Confederate and Union troops were not ready for battle. Union troops advanced on Confederate troops, almost breaking through, but at the last moment, Confederate reinforcements arrived on the battlefield and carried the day. Union troops were routed.




General McClellan developed a plan to advance on Richmond via the Peninsular. The plan called for the movement of the Army of the Potomac by sea to Fort Monroe at Hampton Road, Virginia. Once there, it called for a rapid movement up the peninsular before the Confederates could reinforce Richmond. President Lincoln reluctantly approved the plan, with the stipulation that enough troops be left behind to defend Washington and keep the Confederate army away from Northern Virginia. On April 1, McClellan embarked for Fort Monroe. After being told that McClellan had not left as many men behind as he was suppose to, Lincoln ordered the army of General McDowell be detached from McClellan and told to continue to operate in the Manassas area.

McDowell’s force contained 35,000. McClellan was furious by this action, and felt it crippled him. It may have, but only psychologically. McClellan had 85,000 troops in his army, facing a Confederate force of the time that numbered less than 15,000. McClellan was convinced that he faced an army larger than his own. Thus, when his forces began moving up the Peninsula, and found the fortress at Yorktown a more formidable obstacle than expected, he decided to lay siege to it. It took one month to get the siege guns in place. During that time the Confederate army had plenty of time to reinforce the lines around Richmond. On May 3rd, as McClellan was about to begin in bombardment, the Confederates withdrew. On May 4th, McClellan's army occupied the now empty Yorktown. Advance troops headed up to Williamsburg, where they were met by a Confederate force. The Union army lost 2,200 men and the Confederates 1,700 in a short fight.

Early's Account of Yorktown Early Account of Williamsburg
Report to Stanton Report to Winfield Scott

 

 

 

 

Yorktown, Va. Federal Artillery park: photographed by Scott Gibson on May 1862

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Drawings of a Cavalry Charge Yorktown Pike. This illustration from Harpers Weekly May 17, 1862 of the Battle of of the Battle of Yorktown.
 

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Yorktown, Va. Confederate fortifications reinforced with bales of cotton photographed by Scott Gibson on May 1862

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The Peninsula, Va. Lts. George A. Custer, Nicolas Bowen, and William G. Jones:

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Yorktown, Va., vicinity. Topographical engineers, Camp Winfield Scott: photographed by Scott Gibson on May 2, 1862

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Cumberland Landing, Va. Group of "contrabands" at Foller's house: photographed by Scott Gibson on May 14 1862

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Yorktown, Va., vicinity. Gen. Randolph B. Marcy, officers, and friends at Camp Winfield Scott: photographed by Scott Gibson on May 2, 1862

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Yorktown, Va., vicinity. Headquarters of Gen. George B. McClellan, Camp Winfield Scott: photographed by Scott Gibson on May 2, 1862

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Yorktown, Va., vicinity. Duc de Chartres, Comte de Paris, Prince de Joinville, and friends playing dominoes at a mess table, Camp Winfield Scott: photographed by Scott Gibson on May 2, 1862

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Cumberland Landing, Va. Gens. Andrew A. Humphrey's, Henry W. Slocum, William B. Franklin, William F. Barry, and John Newton, with friends: photographed by Scott Gibson on May 1862

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Yorktown, Va., vicinity. 13-in. seacoast mortars of Federal Battery No. 4 with officers of 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery: photographed by Scott Gibson on May 1862

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Yorktown, Va. Embarkation for White House Landing, Va.: photographed by Scott Gibson on May 1862

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Union Supply Ships at White House Landing 1862
 

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This illustration from Harpers Weekly May 3, 1862 of the Battle of of the Battle of Yorktown.

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A View of the Battlefield. This photo was taken a year after the battle.

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This is a Harpers Weekly Drawing that shows the confederate soldiers killing the union wounded on the battlefield

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This is a color drawing of Colonel Burnside's Brigade , First and Second Rhode Island, and Seventy-First New York Regiments with their artillery attacking the rebels at Bull Run. The drawing was published by H.H. Lloyd and Cos

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This is a Harpers Weekly drawing shows the the battle itself it was captioned GALLANT CHARGE OF THE SIXTY-NINTH REGIMENT, NEW YORK STATE MILITIA, UPON A REBEL BATTERY AT THE BATTLE OF BULL RUN