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Williamsburg, Virginia (North of Fort Magruder)

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Title
Williamsburg, Virginia (North of Fort Magruder)
Source
Publisher
Scenario#
25
Scenario Description
Williamsburg was the first large encounter between Union and Confederate forces during the Peninsula Campaign of 1862. While the Confederates had no intention of attempting to hold the Williamsburg line, poor roads on the Peninsula had slowed the Confederate retreat almost as much as the Union advanced. James Longstreet therefore, along with D. H. Hill, was detailed to hold the line at Williamsburg in order to delay the Union advance.
On the morning of the 5th, Gen. Hooker started the attack with a careful advance in the center of the line facing Fort Magruder and to the south against the Confederate right. The fighting soon developed into a fierce battle, with both sides calling in reinforcements.
A second fight also developed to the north of Fort Magruder, when at 11 a.m. Union commander Sumner became aware that it might be possible to turn the Confederate left and dispatched Gen. Winfield S. Hancock to the difficult task. Hancock's advance made good progress at first, but finally the Confederates began to mass against him and he pulled back slightly to a stronger position. The Confederate attack, under D. H. Hill and Jubal Early, was launched across open fields and was forced back with heavy losses by Hancock's men, who delivered devastating musket fire and a well-executed counterattack. McClellan described Hancock's actions as brilliant. Union reports represented it as a victory over a large part of the Confederate army that was intent on holding the Williamsburg line. This was not the Confederate's intention, for Longstreet only needed to delay the Union advance for a day or so to allow the Confederate supply trains to get back into Richmond.
The stage is set, the battle lines are drawn, and you are in command. The rest is history.
Scenario Date
May 5, 1862
Location
Fort Magruder, Virginia
Battle Name
Battle of Williamsburg
Battle Narrative
The Battle of Williamsburg, also known as the Battle of Fort Magruder, took place on May 5, 1862, in York County, James City County, and Williamsburg, Virginia, as part of the Peninsula Campaign of the American Civil War. It was the first pitched battle of the Peninsula Campaign, in which nearly 41,000 Federals and 32,000 Confederates were engaged, fighting an inconclusive battle that ended with the Confederates continuing their withdrawal.
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