The Battle of Williamsburg, Virginia (1862)

66TH Indiana

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Jeff Shaara has a nice chapter in Gods & Generals (chapt. 18) on Hancock's flank move, then he is ordered to withdraw. Followed by his counterattack/ambush with help from Wheeler's artillery. Custer's presence is also a major point of the story.

A lost opportunity for the North according to the read. I was not familiar with this as Shelby Foote
pretty much skipped it in his volume.
 

Buckeye Bill

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The Battle of Williamsburg
May 5, 1862

In the first pitched battle of the Peninsula Campaign, nearly 41,000 Federals and 32,000 Confederates were engaged. Following up the Confederate retreat from Yorktown, Federal Brigadier General Joseph Hooker’s division encountered the Confederate rearguard near Williamsburg. Hooker assaulted Fort Magruder, an earthen fortification alongside the Williamsburg Road, but was repulsed. Confederate counterattacks, directed by Major General James Longstreet, threatened to overwhelm the Union left flank, until Kearny’s division arrived to stabilize the Federal position. Brigadier General Winfield S. Hancock’s brigade then moved to threaten the Confederate left flank, occupying two abandoned redoubts. The Confederates counterattacked unsuccessfully. Hancock’s localized success was not exploited. The Confederate army continued its withdrawal during the night.
 
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James N.

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Jeff Shaara has a nice chapter in Gods & Generals (chapt. 18) on Hancock's flank move, then he is ordered to withdraw. Followed by his counterattack/ambush with help from Wheeler's artillery. Custer's presence is also a major point of the story.

A lost opportunity for the North according to the read. I was not familiar with this as Shelby Foote
pretty much skipped it in his volume.

The best coverage I ever saw on this particular operation (by Hancock's Brigade) was in the by now very old biography Hancock the Superb.
 

Tomasz

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Hello everyone,
I have a question regarding the beginning of the Williamsburg battle, answer to which I have not managed to find (I have limited access to the sources). I read that according to the report of general Richard H. Anderson, soldiers of his pickets commanded by major Mattison were forced to retreat at 6 a.m., while general Hooker's report reads that Grover's brigade launched the attack at 7:30.
Does anyone know perhaps is there any source, for example any testimony left by Grover or Mattison that would let determine when the fight started? Or are both reports correct maybe - first the pickets were chased away early in the morning and then the main strike began?
Thank you in advance for any response!

While reading about 14 and 15 Louisiana regiments I came up with some question related to Fredericksburg battle as well, I am looking for a proper thread to ask it. ; )
 

James N.

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While reading about 14 and 15 Louisiana regiments I came up with some question related to Fredericksburg battle as well, I am looking for a proper thread to ask it. ; )

Tomasz, just create your own thread and ask!
 

Tomasz

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Thank you, I guess that's what I'll do; although for now I have not got any response neither here nor in the thread where I posted the second question - I believe those are not easy questions, however. : )
 

James N.

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Thank you, I guess that's what I'll do; although for now I have not got any response neither here nor in the thread where I posted the second question - I believe those are not easy questions, however. : )

Very possibly you won't get any answers to your questions - but don't hesitate to create new threads anytime you have legitimate questions about something you *might* get answered.
 

Bruce Vail

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I'm headed to Williamsburg tomorrow for a family get-together and plan to visit Redoubt Park.

If I can talk my brother-in-law into it, will try to get to the Mechanicsville battlefield over the weekend.
 

Buckeye Bill

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* Earthworks on the Quarterpath Road.

IMG_8538.JPG
 

Yankeedave

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If you're the one getting shot at, it ain't little. Just saying.
I totally agree. Fought in the pouring rain. Longstreet is a tough road. Sumner has the union van. Altho Sumner turns some outer works Longstreet does his rear guard.
 

bdtex

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I :banghead: every time I see this thread. :D I was so close and didn't even know it.
 

Bruce Vail

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11754142_112681728944.jpg

David Vail
Civil War Union Soldier.
Friends Meeting House Cemetery
Plainfield NJ

He began his Civil War service when he was mustered in as a Private in Company K, 2nd New Jersey Militia on April 26, 1861. The unit was one of 4 three-month enlistment New Jersey militia regiments that were quickly assembled to meet the percieved threat to Washington, DC after the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter. Deployed first in the defenses of the Capital City, his regiment eventually took part in the July 1861 campaign, where it was held in reserve. He was mustered out on July 31, 1861 when the enlistments expired, but wasted little time re-joining the Union war effort. He was enrolled in the three-year enlistment 6th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry on August 7, 1861, and was mustered in as a Private in Company B on August 26, 1861.

He took part in the opening phases of Major General George B. McClellan's Spring 1862 Peninsular Campaign, and fought in the May 5, 1862 Battle of Williamsburg. There he sustained a wound that would ultimately cause his death at the United States Army General Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland on June 3, 1862. He was one of 4 men of his Company to lose their lives from the Battle.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/11754142/david-vail

This info was a surprise when I discovered it while doing some family history research last year. While I am not really related to David Vail, we do have some common ancestors. His Plainfield, NJ branch of the family split away from my Westchester, NY branch in the late 1700s.
 
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Bruce Vail

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Joined
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11754142_112681728944.jpg

David Vail
Civil War Union Soldier.
Friends Meeting House Cemetery
Plainfield NJ

He began his Civil War service when he was mustered in as a Private in Company K, 2nd New Jersey Militia on April 26, 1861. The unit was one of 4 three-month enlistment New Jersey militia regiments that were quickly assembled to meet the percieved threat to Washington, DC after the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter. Deployed first in the defenses of the Capital City, his regiment eventually took part in the July 1861 campaign, where it was held in reserve. He was mustered out on July 31, 1861 when the enlistments expired, but wasted little time re-joining the Union war effort. He was enrolled in the three-year enlistment 6th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry on August 7, 1861, and was mustered in as a Private in Company B on August 26, 1861.

He took part in the opening phases of Major General George B. McClellan's Spring 1862 Peninsular Campaign, and fought in the May 5, 1862 Battle of Williamsburg. There he sustained a wound that would ultimately cause his death at the United States Army General Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland on June 3, 1862. He was one of 4 men of his Company to lose their lives from the Battle.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/11754142/david-vail

This info was a surprise when I discovered it while doing some family history research last year. While I am not really related to David Vail, we do have some common ancestors. His Plainfield, NJ branch of the family split away from my Westchester, NY branch in the late 1700s.

I am hoping to find out one day if David Vail renounced the Quakerism of his family to volunteer in the War. His family had him buried in the Quaker cemetery, so they must have approved of what he did.
 

Bruce Vail

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I'm looking forward to going back to Williamsburg now that the weather is getting nicer. Planning to visit "The Ravine" and also the section of Redoubt Park that I missed last time around.
 
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