Siege of Yorktown

Siege of Yorktown

The Battle of Yorktown or Siege of Yorktown was fought from April 5 to May 4, 1862 in York County and Newport News, Virginia.

In April 1862, Major General George McClellan's troops left northern Virginia to begin the Peninsula Campaign. McClellan's army encountered Major General John Magruder’s small Confederate army at Yorktown. McClellan suspended the march toward Richmond, ordered the construction of siege fortifications, and brought his heavy siege guns to the front. In the meantime, General Joseph Johnston brought reinforcements for Magruder. On April 16, Union forces probed a point in the Confederate line at Dam No. 1 near Lee's Mill, several miles from Yorktown. Failure to exploit the initial success of this attack, however, held up McClellan for two additional weeks, while he tried to convince the US Navy to bypass the Confederates' big guns at Yorktown and Gloucester Point and ascend the York River to West Point and outflank the Warwick Line. McClellan planned for a massive artillery bombardment to begin at dawn on May 5, but the Confederate army slipped away in the night of May 3 toward Williamsburg. At dawn on the 4th, the Union army discovered Yorktown abandoned. Yorktown remained in Union control for the rest of the war and was maintained as a military garrison until the summer of 1864.

New York State troops that were involved in the Siege of Yorktown, according to New York in the War of the Rebellion (vol. 1), were Companies D, F, H and K, 6th Cavalry; 9th Cavalry, dismounted; Oneida Company Cavalry; field and staff, and Batteries A, B, D, E, G and H, 1st Regiment Artillery; Batteries A, B, C and D, 1st Battalion Artillery; Battery A, 2d Battalion Artillery; 1st, 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Independent Batteries of Artillery; 15th and 50th Engineers; 5th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 17th, 25th, 33rd, 34th, 36th, 37th, 38th, 40th, 42nd, 43rd, 44th, 49th, 52nd, 55th, 56th, 57th, 61st, 62nd, 63rd, 64th, 65th, 66th, 67th, 69th, 70th, 71st, 72nd, 73rd, 74th, 77th, 81st, 82nd, 85th, 87th, 88th, 92nd, 93rd, 96th, 98th and 100th Infantry.

Note four illustrations in Harper's by artist Winslow Homer (May 3 and 17 issues).

Click on a column heading (2-4) to sort the table on that field. Click twice to sort in descending order.
Thumbnail Caption/Description Source of Illustration Publication
Date
Major-General Halleck. Major-General Halleck in the field, April 1862. Harper's Weekly,
April 26, 1862
page [257]
1862-04-26
Headquarters of Gen. Heintzelman. The war in Virginia – Headquarters of Gen. Heintzelman, near Hampton Bridge, April 3 [showing] telegraph operator's tent, general's tent, buildings destroyed by Rebels. Leslie's Illustrated News,
May 3, 1862
page 13
1862-05-03
Arrival of General McClellan. The war in Virginia – Arrival of General McClellan, 5th of April, 1862, to take personal command of the Union army in its advance on Yorktown – Enthusiastic reception by the troops. Leslie's Illustrated News,
May 3, 1862
page 5
1862-05-03
Big Bethel Big Bethel and its fortifications occupied (by our troops, April, 1862. Harper's Weekly,
April 26, 1862
page 260
1862-04-26
Headquarters of General McClellan, at Big Bethel. The war in Virginia – Headquarters of Gen. McClellan, at Big Bethel. Leslie's Illustrated News,
May 3, 1862
page 12
1862-05-03
Advance of the Union troops, near Howard's Bridge and mill. The War in Virginia – Advance of the Union troops, near Howard's Bridge and mill, four miles from Big Bethel, on the road to Yorktown. Leslie's Illustrated News,
May 3, 1862
page 12
1862-05-03
Advance of the Union army, under General McClellan, towards Yorktown. The war in Virginia – Advance of the Union army, under General McClellan, towards Yorktown – Scene on the road between Big Bethel and Yorktown, April 5. Leslie's Illustrated News,
May 3, 1862
page 4
1862-05-03
Martin's Massachusetts Battery, C. The war in Virginia – Martin's Massachusetts Battery, C, opening fire on the Rebel fortifications commanding the approaches to Yorktown, April 5. Leslie's Illustrated News,
May 3, 1862
page 13
1862-05-03
The first day's firing at Yorktown, April, 1862. The first day's firing at Yorktown, April, 1862. Harper's Weekly,
April 26, 1862
page 261
1862-04-26
Longitudinal section of the Naugatuck.

Longitudinal section of the "Naugatuck."

The Stevens iron steam gun-boat "Naugatuck" now at Fortress Monroe.

Harper's Weekly,
April 26, 1862
page 262
1862-04-26
Map of Yorktown Map of Yorktown and the vicinity, showing the positions of General McClellan's army, and the rebels under Jeff[erson] Davis. Harper's Weekly,
May 3, 1862
page 279
1862-05-03
Our army before Yorktown, Virginia. Our army before Yorktown, Virginia. [Collection of images by A.R. Waud and Winslow Homer.] Harper's Weekly,
May 3, 1862
pages 280-281
1862-05-03
View of the Rebel river batteries at Yorktown and Gloucester Point. View of the Rebel river batteries at Yorktown and Gloucester Point. New York Illustrated News,
May 3, 1862
page 405
1862-05-03
Skirmishers in General McClellan's advance on Yorktown, Va. Skirmishers in General McClellan's advance on Yorktown, Va. New York Illustrated News,
May 3, 1862
page 412
1862-05-03
Advance position of the Union Army – Camp of the 9th Massachusetts regiment. The war in Virginia – Advance position of the Union Army – Camp of the 9th Massachusetts regiment. Leslie's Illustrated News,
May 3, 1862
page 12
1862-05-03
Yorktown, Gloucester, and scenes in the camps before Yorktown. Yorktown, Gloucester, and scenes in the camps before Yorktown. [Collection of images] Harper's Weekly,
May 10, 1862
pages 296-297
1862-05-10
The Battle of Lee's Mill, near Yorktown. The Battle of Lee's Mill, near Yorktown, Va., on Wednesday afternoon, April 16, 1862. New York Illustrated News,
May 10, 1862
pages 8-9
1862-05-10
Rebel batteries near Lee's Mills, Warwick River, Scene of the battle of 16th of April. The war in Virginia – Rebel batteries near Lee's Mills, Warwick River, Scene of the battle of 16th of April. Leslie's Illustrated News,
May 24, 1862
page 93
1862-05-24
Rebels outside their works at Yorktown reconnoitering with dark lanterns. Rebels outside their works at Yorktown reconnoitering with dark lanterns. [Sketched by Winslow Homer] Harper's Weekly,
May 17, 1862
page [305]
1862-05-17
The Union cavalry and artillery starting in pursuit of the rebels up the Yorktown turnpike. The Union cavalry and artillery starting in pursuit of the rebels up the Yorktown turnpike. [Sketched by Winslow Homer] Harper's Weekly,
May 17, 1862
page 308
1862-05-17
Map of the theatre of the war in Virginia. Charge of the First Massachusetts Regiment on a rebel rifle pit near Yorktown. [Sketched by Winslow Homer] Harper's Weekly,
May 17, 1862
page 309
1862-05-17
Map of the theatre of the war in Virginia. Map of the theatre of the war in Virginia. Harper's Weekly,
May 17, 1862
page 310
1862-05-17
Pickets conversing before Yorktown – a common scene. Pickets conversing before Yorktown – a common scene. Harper's Weekly,
May 17, 1862
page 311
1862-05-17
The news boy at Camp Winfield Scott, near Yorktown "The news boy" at Camp Winfield Scott, near Yorktown, Va. New York Illustrated News,
May 17, 1862
page [17]
1862-05-17
Thumbnail image of a collection of six scenes in and around Fortress Monroe. Sketches around Fortress Monroe

Scenes include: 1. Monitor; 2. Old Point Comfort, Fortress Monroe; 3. Naugatuck; 4. Advance on Yorktown; 5. [Interior of] Hospital; 6. Contrabands selling fish, etc.
New York Illustrated News,
May 17, 1862
page 20
1862-05-17
A signal station in the rear of General McClellan's quarters, near Yorktown. A signal station in the rear of General McClellan's quarters, near Yorktown, Va. New York Illustrated News,
May 17, 1862
page 21
1862-05-17
he Rebel Fort Grafton, Albermala Artillery, six guns, commanding the road to Yorktown. The Rebel Fort Grafton, Albermala Artillery, six guns, commanding the road to Yorktown. New York Illustrated News,
May 17, 1862
page 28
1862-05-17
Camp of the 53d Virginia, Hampton Legion, Col. Davis, on the road from Cheasman's Landing to Yorktown. Camp of the 53d Virginia, Hampton Legion, Col. Davis, on the road from Cheasman's Landing to Yorktown, Va. New York Illustrated News,
May 17, 1862
page 28
1862-05-17
View of Yorktown and Gloucester Point – Taken from Fanenhate's house. The war in Virginia – View of Yorktown and Gloucester Point Leslie's Illustrated News,
May 17, 1862
page 53
1862-05-17
Scenes and views at and around Yorktown. Scenes and views at and around Yorktown, Virginia. [Collection of images] Harper's Weekly,
May 24, 1862
pages 328-329
1862-05-24
Map of the seat of war in Virginia. Map of the seat of war in Virginia. [Close-up showing Yorktown and the James and York rivers] Harper's Weekly,
May 24, 1862
page 331
1862-05-24
The main street in Yorktown. The main street in Yorktown – Federal troops marching through en [route] to Williamsburg. New York Illustrated News,
May 24, 1862
pp. 36 and 45
1862-05-24
View of the river from the ramparts around [the] city. The evacuation of Yorktown – View of the river from the ramparts around [the] city. New York Illustrated News,
May 24, 1862
pp. 36 and 45
1862-05-24
Looking up York River towards Richmond. Scene at Yorktown – Looking up York River towards Richmond. Federal gunboats in the distance destroying Rebel craft. New York Illustrated News,
May 24, 1862
page 37
1862-05-24
Professor Lowe's balloon Intrepid, harbored before Yorktown. Professor Lowe's balloon Intrepid, harbored before Yorktown. New York Illustrated News,
May 24, 1862
page 37
1862-05-24
A balloon view of the Rebel forts and camps at Yorktown. A balloon view of the Rebel forts and camps at Yorktown, Va., sketched from Prof. Lowe's balloon, at an elevation of one thousand feet. New York Illustrated News,
May 17, 1862
page 24-25
1862-05-17
New York Excelsior Brigade encamped in the fields near Yorktown. New York Excelsior Brigade encamped in the fields near Yorktown, during the late storm. New York Illustrated News,
May 24, 1862
page 48
1862-05-24
Successful charge of Company H, 1st Massachusetts Regiment. The war in Virginia – Successful charge of Co. H. 1st Massachusetts Regiment (Capt. Carruth), on a Rebel redan, before Yorktown, April 26. Leslie's Illustrated News,
May 24, 1862
page 92
1862-05-24
Rebel water battery, Yorktown, silenced by the Connecticut battery at Farenhalt's house, Wormsley's Creek, York River. The war in Virginia – Rebel water battery, Yorktown, silenced by the Connecticut battery at Farenhalt's house, Wormsley's Creek, York River, May 3. Leslie's Illustrated News,
May 24, 1862
page 93
1862-05-24
Interior view of the fortifications surrounding Yorktown. The war in Virginia – Interior view of the fortifications surrounding Yorktown, and commanding the main road, captured by the National Army, May 3. Leslie's Illustrated News,
May 24, 1862
page 93
1862-05-24
Map of the seat of war from Fortress Monroe to Richmond. Map of the seat of war from Fortress Monroe to Richmond Leslie's Illustrated News,
May 31, 1862
pages 116 and 125
1862-05-31
Battery No. 1 of one hundred- and two hundred-pounder Parrott guns opposite Yorktown and Gloucester. Battery No. 1 of one hundred- and two hundred-pounder Parrott guns opposite Yorktown and Gloucester. Harper's Weekly,
June 7, 1862
pages 360-361
1862-06-07
Explosion of torpedoes and infernal machines left by the retreating cavalry in Yorktown. Explosion of torpedoes and infernal machines left by the retreating chivalry [sic] in Yorktown. New York Illustrated News,
June 7, 1862
page [65]
1862-06-07
Rebel prisoners at camp Winfield Scott. Rebel prisoners at camp Winfield Scott, near Yorktown, Va. New York Illustrated News,
May 24, 1862
page 44
1862-05-24
Gate through the Yorktown ramparts leading to the Richmond Road. Gate through the Yorktown ramparts leading to the Richmond Road. New York Illustrated News,
June 7, 1862
page 80
1862-06-07
Old building near Yorktown formerly used as a picket station by the Union Forces. Old building near Yorktown formerly used as a picket station by the Union Forces. New York Illustrated News,
June 14, 1862
page [81]
1862-06-14
The old saw mill one-and-a-half miles from Yorktown. The old saw mill one-and-a-half miles from Yorktown, now being run by Federal troops. New York Illustrated News,
May 24, 1862
page 48
1862-05-24

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Last Updated: July 11, 2012