Posted by: ushistoryfiles | January 15, 2012

The Civil War Battle of Williamsburg

It is now 2012 and those of us with a passion for history are enjoying the fact that it is both the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the sesquicentennial of the U.S. Civil War.  While I hope to be writing more about both events throughout the year, today I want to mention the Battle of Williamsburg.

1862 was a busy year with the battles of Forts Henry and Donelson (see a previous post of mine on Fort Donelson here), Pea Ridge, Shiloh, Second Manassas, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Stones River, and many more.  It was also the year of McClellan’s failed Peninsula Campaign.  During that campaign Union and Confederate armies clashed just outside the old colonial capital of Virginia, Williamsburg.

When most people think of Williamsburg they think of colonial history and Colonial Williamsburg, a subject for many possible future blog posts.   However, as we enter the 150th anniversary of the battles and campaigns of 1862, Colonial Williamsburg is taking a look at Williamsburg’s role in the Civil War.

In May of this year there will a commemoration of the Battle of Williamsburg (see the link here).  I will reserve writing a more detailed description of the battle for a post closer to the anniversary, what I would like to do here (in addition to promoting the May commemoration) is give the reader interested in the battle a few resources to look at.

The Colonial Williamsburg’s own website offers a few resources here and here

For those who are interested in a general history which highlights the town during the war I would recommend, Civil War Williamsburg by Carson O. Hudson, Jr.

For those interested just in the battle itself, I recommend A Pitiless Rain by Earl C. Hastings, Jr.

A detailed account of the battle can be found in Carol Kettenburg Dubbs’ Defend this Old Town.



I’ll close by encouraging you to check out the local history where you live, no matter where that is.  You might be surprised by what you find exploring your local history.


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